The IMF has given preliminary approval for a standby credit of about $600 million to stabilise the economy, an IMF spokesperson said on 28 November. The credit is part of a 15-month standby arrangement, the details of which will be submitted to the executive board in mid-December.

The negotiated programme includes fiscal adjustment policies, a tightening of monetary and credit policy and the continuation of structural reforms. The aim is to strengthen the balance of payments and to lay the ground work for a medium-term adjustment programme, which it is hoped will start in fiscal year 1996/97. ‘The current standby arrangement may pave the way back to the ESAF (enhanced structural adjustment facility) programme’, an IMF spokesperson said.

The first tranche of $200 million could come in January after board approval has been obtained. The remaining $400 million will be paid in five tranches of $80 million each (MEED 1:12:95; 11:10:95).

Pak Saudi Fertiliser and Wah Cement to be privatised

The Privatisation Commission has announced two more privatisations. The first is Pak Saudi Fertilisers. In 1994, the company produced 617,095 tonnes of urea, and made profits of Rs 1,095 million ($32 million). The second project to be privatised is Wah Cement. The plant has a capacity of 3,000 tonnes a day and is strategically located for the Ghazi Barotha hydropower project.

The Privatisation Commission will be making presentations in Lahore and Karachi this month. Bidding for both projects will take place on 27 December. The successful bidder will be required to produce a 40 per cent cash payment and provide the remaining 60 per cent in bank guarantees by the end of January. Transfer of the projects should take place by mid-February.

A spokesperson for the Privatisation Commission said that expressions of interest have been received from 10-15 consortiums, both local and international.