KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced to lift all restrictions on imports to fulfil another condition of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The decision comes as more than 12,000 containers are currently stuck up at port due to lack of dollars. The SBP has instructed banks to give priority to specific types of imports and sectors.
The central bank stated that remittances will be provided for all imports after the enforcement of the latest order. The authorized dealers have been given instructions to provide remittances following the recommendations of the stakeholders.
“In view of the representations received from various stakeholders, it has been decided to withdraw these instructions with immediate effect,” a circular issued by the SBP said.
In December last year, the SBP asked banks to prioritize/facilitate imports related to essential items, energy, agriculture inputs, imports by export-oriented industry, and imports on deferred payment basis. However, the SBP has decided to withdraw these instructions.
The SBP had advised banks to actively engage with all their customers to process their requests, keeping in view the customers’ risk profile and liquidity conditions prevailing in the foreign exchange market.
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said Pakistan was hopeful of its agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as it had met all conditions of the financial institution.
He said the IMF board should approve the programme for Pakistan. He said the meeting with the Managing Director IMF in Paris in a friendly atmosphere, he told.
The prime minister said he was in touch with the IMF team and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and everybody should pray for an early agreement with the IMF. The government has only days left before the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) package expires at the end of the month.