WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s homegrown reform program is showing clear signs of economic stability after the country took some painful decisions under the most difficult environment, Adviser on Finance Shaukat Tareen said as he met with top financial leaders at the annual World Bank-IMF spring gathering. He said Pakistan has met all the benchmarks of the International Monetary Fund program and is now committed to reform for which the government has already rolled out a roadmap envisioned under the Nine Points Framework.
Tareen is heading a top-level Pakistani delegation, which Friday met with the Asian Development President Haruhiko Kuroda, Executive Vice President of Multilateral Investment Guarantees Association, Vice President World Bank Isabel Guerrero and Sector Directors, Finance Minister of Saudi Arabia, H.E.
Ibrahim Abdulaziz Al-Assaf, Director Middle East and Central Asia Department IMF.
Their discussions touched on a range of economic matters with a particular focus on exploring opportunities for MIGA guarantees for trade financing, investment in power sector and capital raising for infrastructure, investment pipeline by the World Bank for Pakistan, public and private investment by Saudi Arabia in Pakistan and a review of the Fund program. Tareen told his interlocutors:
“We recognize that key area that would help in consolidating our early successes is the tax policy and administration reform going forward. We are working on a plan of action to expand the tax coverage and improving both the tax-to-GDP ratio as well as domestic savings to investment ratio to reduce our reliance on foreign borrowings,“We now need to focus on growth and investment in agriculture, water and power, infrastructure and poverty alleviation and institutions strengthening.”
The adviser to the prime minister emphasized it is important to expand public and private sector investment while maintaining macroeconomic stability to create job opportunities and improving public service delivery.
The government, Tareen stated, accords a high priority to human resource development and will therefore focus on better education and health facilities for the people. “We plan to work on demand based skill development that will enable Pakistan to avail job opportunities overseas.”
The adviser thanked the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Saudi Arabia for their generous support during the Friends of Democratic Pakistan conference in Tokyo earlier this month. He emphasized the importance of finalizing preparation of programs and projects that are in the pipeline for early implementation.
Tareen also urged the World Bank for fast-tracking the preparation of Country Assistance Strategy for 2010-2013 in consultation with the Government of Pakistan. He also represented Pakistan at the G-24 meeting of ministers and discussed global economic and financial conditions, their impact on Pakistan economy and policy responses of the IMF and World Bank.
Minister of State for Finance and Economic Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar, Governor State Bank Syed Salim Raza, Secretary Finance and Secretary Finance and Economic Affairs and Minister Economic at the Pakistani embassy are part of the delegation participating in the annual meetings of the global financial institutions.-APP