Pakistan and IMF to meet over release of funds
Officials are seeking an extension to the programme through to June 2023.
ISLAMABAD (AFP) - The International Monetary Fund will begin talks with Pakistani officials on Wednesday over the release of crucial funds.
Pakistan has repeatedly sought international support for its economy, which has been hit by crippling national debt, galloping inflation and a plummeting rupee.
The talks will be held in the Qatari capital Doha, Pakistan s finance ministry said, and are expected to continue into next week.
A major sticking point is likely to be over costly subsidies -- notably for fuel and electricity -- and Finance Minister Miftah Ismail said he wants the two sides to "find a middle ground".
A six billion dollar IMF bailout package signed by former prime minister Imran Khan in 2019 has never been fully implemented because his government reneged on agreements to cut or end some subsidies and to improve revenue and tax collection.
Islamabad has so far received $3 billion, with the programme due to end later this year.
Officials are seeking an extension to the programme through to June 2023, as well as the release of the next tranche of $1 billion.
Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who took power with a coalition that removed Khan in a no-confidence vote last month, has vowed to jumpstart the moribund economy, but analysts say his fragile government has failed to take tough decisions.