ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s finance ministry said on Saturday the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had expressed satisfaction over the country’s utilization of COVID-19 fund after an audit report of the urgently procured supplies related to the disease was shared with it.
Last year, the international financial institution provided $1.4 billion to Islamabad to meet its balance of payment requirements stemming from the coronavirus outbreak, though it also required the government to conduct an ex-post audit of its utilization.
The ministry published the audit report on its website on Friday to fulfil an IMF condition, making the local media say some Rs40 billion of irregularities had been found in the COVID-19 budget.
Responding to the claim, the ministry said the auditor general of Pakistan had discussed the report “in detail” with the IMF in June and during the recently concluded sixth review for a multibillion-dollar bailout package.
“The IMF was fully satisfied that there was no case of fraud and embezzlement,” it said in a statement.
The ministry informed a majority of paragraphs and observations included in the report related to procedural shortcomings due to emergency procurements.
“The IMF was further informed that divisions/organisations have noted those shortcomings and taken remedial measures,” it added.
The ministry admitted it had published the report on the website as a “prior action under the recently completed 6th review” of the IMF extended fund facility.
It said the report had already been presented to parliament and was therefore in public knowledge.
“The government strongly believes in and is committed to transparency and accountability,” it continued.