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Print Print 2024-04-21

Aurangzeb briefs global FIs on reform initiatives

  • Finance minister meets with World Bank’s Regional Vice President for South Asia Martin Raiser to discuss Pakistan’s reform initiatives and development priorities in Washington DC
Published April 21, 2024

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Muhammad Aurangzeb on Saturday briefed the chiefs of international financial institutions about the country’s economic reform initiatives and development priorities by the government of Pakistan.

The finance minister met with the World Bank’s Regional Vice President for South Asia, Martin Raiser to discuss Pakistan’s reform initiatives and development priorities in Washington DC.

Pakistan’s inflation deceleration broad-based, says central bank chief

During the meeting, the finance minister expressed satisfaction that the new Country Partnership Framework (CPF) between Pakistan and the World Bank would be finalized soon. He underlined the government’s reform thrust in the areas of energy, taxation and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), highlighting the pursuit of both short and long-term goals in these crucial sectors. Referring to his earlier meetings with the senior leadership of the World Bank, the finance minister stated that the Bank’s focus on climate change, digitalization, and human capital development aligns well with the priorities of the government.

The finance minister highlighted the government’s vision to realize Pakistan’s true economic potential in terms of sustainable economic growth. He stressed the importance of timely completion of development projects and the realization of intended impacts and outcomes, emphasizing the need for effective implementation and monitoring.

He also briefed Mr. Raiser on the role of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) as a one-window facility for investment promotion and facilitation. Both sides agreed on the need for reforms in the agriculture sector, water management, and waste-water treatment.

The finance minister also met with Brent Neiman, Deputy Undersecretary for International Finance at the US Department of Treasury, on the sidelines of the IMF/World Bank Spring Meetings in Washington D.C. Finance Minister briefed Neiman on Pakistan’s positive economic indicators in the wake of the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) signed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He informed that the government has prioritized reforms in taxation, energy sector, and state-owned enterprises (SOEs).

He underscored the United States’ significance as Pakistan’s largest trading partner and a key source of remittances and Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

He briefed Neiman on the role of the Special Investment Facilitation Council (SIFC) in facilitating foreign investment into the country.

Finance Minister welcomed his visit to Pakistan after the presentation of the budget and assured full support in this regard.

Muhammad Aurangzeb held a meeting with Jin Liqun, President of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and discussed with him Pakistan’s economic trajectory and explore avenues for enhancing cooperation in infrastructure development.

During the meeting, the finance minister briefed the AIIB President on Pakistan’s positive economic indicators, including improving foreign exchange reserves, a stable currency, declining inflation rates, and a surging stock market.

He highlighted the renewed institutional and foreign inflows into the market, on the back of the successful 9-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The finance minister informed Jin Liqun that Pakistan was looking to enter into a larger and extended program with the IMF, building upon the progress achieved under the SBA. He identified broadening the tax base, fixing the energy sector, and undertaking state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms as key priorities of the government.

The minister expressed gratitude for AIIB’s support in the aftermath of the devastating 2022 floods, particularly the co-financing of US$ 250 million for the RISE-II program of the World Bank. He reaffirmed Pakistan’s commitment to continue working closely with AIIB on the infrastructure development of the country.

The minister appreciated AIIB’s additional commitment of US$ 500 million in project assistance and acknowledged the satisfactory progress on project implementation and disbursements.

The finance minister also met with Makhtar Diop, Managing Director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC). In the meeting, the Finance Minister briefed Diop on Pakistan’s positive economic indicators, including improving foreign exchange reserves, stable currency, declining inflation rates, and a surging stock market.

He highlighted the renewed institutional and foreign inflows into the market, bolstered by the successful 9-month Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He informed the IFC Managing Director that Pakistan looked forward to entering into a larger and extended program with the IMF.

The finance minister identified broadening tax reforms, fixing the energy sector, and undertaking state-owned enterprise (SOE) reforms as key priorities of the government.

He expressed gratitude to IFC for its support in the outsourcing of the Islamabad airport, which will be followed by similar initiatives in Lahore and Karachi.

He noted with satisfaction the uptick in IFC activities in the country and requested the corporation’s support in assisting the government in shifting its Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) to PPP mode. Other engagements of the finance minister included luncheon meeting with Country Management Unit (CMU) of the World Bank, participation in the High-level Closed-door Roundtable on Financial Markets Access: Challenges and Opportunities organized by the Middle East and Central Asia Department (MCD), IMF and meeting with Andrew Torre, Regional President, VISA.

The minister is leading Pakistan’s delegation in the IMF/World Bank’s 2024 Spring Meetings being held in Washington DC. Other delegates include Imdadullah Bosal, Finance Secretary, Dr. Kazim Niaz, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Jameel Ahmed, Governor State Bank of Pakistan and Adil Akbar Khan, Senior Joint Secretary, Economic Affairs Division.

Comments

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KU Apr 21, 2024 10:43am
As long as these reforms are meaningful n result orientated, Pakistan cannot afford the Raj on 'zakat'. The ease of doing business and happiness for people is squarely dependant on closure of Raj.
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Abdullah Apr 21, 2024 11:50am
@KU, keep on dreaming.
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Imran Apr 21, 2024 12:45pm
Focus shd be prioritised in our internal finances management ,interst rates and other imm matters minister sahb once that is done ,everybody will invest as a senior banker u know very well
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