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Statement by the International Monetary Fund
Delivered by Mohsin S. Khan
Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department
At the Pakistan Development Forum
Islamabad, March 17-19, 2004
I. Introduction
1. The 2004 Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) provides a timely opportunity to discuss Pakistan's recently finalized Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) "Accelerating Economic Growth and Reducing Poverty: The Road Ahead." Last week the IMF Executive Board endorsed Pakistan's PRSP as a comprehensive and feasible poverty reduction strategy, and a good framework for further reform after the expiration of the Fund program. The Fund staff appreciates this opportunity to comment on Pakistan's economic developments and outlook.
2. The Pakistani economic reform program has been supported by the IMF with a three-year arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility (PRGF). This program was approved by the IMF Executive Board in December 2001 and it will be completed in December 2004. Since its approval, seven program reviews have been completed successfully and discussions for the eighth review are scheduled for April.
3. In light of the considerable improvement in economic fundamentals during recent years, the authorities have indicated to us that they will not request a successor arrangement to the current PRGF. This will be a very important milestone for Pakistan following a long history of financial assistancel from the IMF. The authorities should be commended for adhering to their commitments under the PRGF and for the impressive economic achievements. Of course, the IMF will continue to work closely with the Pakistani authorities, but in a different mode. As part of our surveillance mandate, we will offer advice on macroeconomic stabilization and reforms, and particularly on how economic growth could be strengthened further over the medium term. We...

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