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Business & Finance

Pakistan, World Bank agree to accelerate pace of reforms

  • Both sides consider fiscal and macroeconomic reforms important to achieve higher economic growth
Updated 11 May, 2022

Pakistan and World Bank have agreed on the importance of fiscal and macroeconomic reforms to achieve higher economic growth and resilient recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic

In a tweet on Wednesday, World Bank Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer stated the two sides explored ways for the private sector to play a greater role in the revival of Pakistan’s economic growth by bringing in investment to help increase exports and create jobs for Pakistanis.

“I have just concluded a two-day visit. I met with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and key federal ministers and we had excellent discussions on the country’s development priorities and reform program,” he announced.

“We talked about the need to accelerate the pace of critical reforms in the power sector including reducing power generation cost, decarbonising energy mix, better targeting subsidies and reducing circular debt.”

Following a meeting with Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif earlier during the day, Schafer revealed that the two sides discussed the government’s priorities, particularly in the areas of agriculture, job creation and renewable energy.

Prime Minister Shehbaz and World Bank vice president also talked about accelerating the pace of power sector and fiscal sustainability reforms, which are critical to achieve higher economic growth and job creation.

Schafer reaffirmed World Bank’s commitment to support Pakistan in these areas in an impactful and fiscally sustainable way for the benefit of its people.

On Tuesday, Schafer had met Finance Minister Miftah Ismail and discussed the implementation of key economic and structural reforms including fiscal, debt management and critical power sector reforms.

“Surge in global energy and commodity prices shock is hitting Pakistan hard. It is time to stay course and accelerate reforms,” he said. “World Bank is committed to support Pakistan.”

World Bank briefed about challenges facing Pakistan

During the meeting, Ismail shared that Pakistan was currently facing monetary and fiscal challenges due to rising global commodity prices. The present government is cognizant of these issues and is taking pragmatic steps to resolve bottlenecks to growth. The present government is committed to set the economy on sustainable and inclusive growth path.

Finance Minister Miftah Ismail shared that upcoming budget aims at bringing in the fiscal consolidation and improving the overall resilience of the economy. For this reason, government is planning to provide various relief measures for protecting the vulnerable segments of the society.

The World Bank vice president also held a discussion with Minister of Energy Khurram Dastgir on the critical power sector reform program.

“These reforms will put the sector on financially viable footing and country on greener development path,” he said. “We are committed to continue support Pakistan in this strategic sector including through investments in renewables (hydro, solar), transmission, distribution and energy efficiency.”

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