The International Monetary Fund or IMF today released $102.1 million to cash-strapped Pakistan as part of its final tranche of distribution of financial assistance to improve and restructure the country’s economy. The disbursement was part of $6.15 billion approved by the IMF Board in September 2013. “Significant challenges remain for Pakistan in the post-program period, and the authorities’ commitment to continue implementing strong policies to reinforce macroeconomic stability gains and advance growth-supporting reforms is to be commended,” said Mitsuhiro Furusawa, Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair of IMF Executive Board. “In light of the significant public debt burden, the authorities’ plan to further reduce the fiscal deficit is welcome. The 2016/17 budget and the revised fiscal responsibility framework can anchor fiscal policy in support of further gradual fiscal consolidation,” he said. “Swiftly addressing the remaining recommendations of the 2013 Safeguards Assessment is needed to further strengthen the central bank’s autonomy. Further progress in advancing financial sector reforms will be important,” he said. Furusawa said Pakistan’s Fund-supported programme has helped the country restore macroeconomic stability, reduce vulnerabilities, and make progress in tackling key structural challenges. “Economic growth has gradually increased and inflation has declined. External buffers have been bolstered, financial sector resilience has been reinforced, and the fiscal deficit has been reduced, while social safety nets have been strengthened,” he said.