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IMF extended Pakistan loan

Monday, December 27, 2010

Pakistan's fiscal deficit may exceed 7% of economic output, endangering its standing with international donors, due to a delay in implementing a reformed general sales tax, analysts said on Monday.

The International Monetary Fund said its executive board approved a nine-month extension of Pakistan's loan to give authorities time to finish the reforms. The loan program was scheduled to end this year, but will now run through September 30, 2011, the IMF said.

"The extension will provide time to the Pakistani authorities to complete the reform of the general sales tax, implement measures to correct the course of fiscal policy and amend the legislative framework for the financial sector," the fund said in a statement.

The RGST, which is supposed to replace the current general sales tax, was originally scheduled for implementation in July, but has been delayed several times since. Even its latest implementation date, January 1, now seems unlikely.

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