World Bank VP assures Pakistan of support on economic, energy priorities

WASHINGTON: Finance Minister, Muhammad Ishaq Dar met with Philippe Le Houerou, Vice President SAR, World Bank, who assured him of the Bank’s cooperation in realizing Pakistan’s economic and energy priorities.

Mr. Houerou began by appreciating the Pakistan Government’s efforts in putting economy back on track.

He praised the resolve of the government towards solving the economic issues faced by the country and appreciated deft handling of tough issues.

He said the World Bank looks forward to working with the Government of Pakistan according to its priorities especially those on energy and economy, the Pakistani embassy said.

Finance Minister Dar thanked the World Bank team for its support and cooperation, acknowledging that the joint efforts made the progress possible.

He informed the World Bank team that Pakistan was ready for the third review of the IMF and that the progress on various requirements by the IMF was on track.

The Finance Minister highlighted Government’s priority areas of four E’s, i.e. economy, energy, extremism and education.

The finance minister also briefed the attendees regarding the current government efforts to improve regional connectivity and trade with its neighbours, mentioning in particular the meeting of the joint economic commission with Afghanistan.

Senator Dar further apprised the delegation of the progress regarding CASA-1000, informing that he is trying to narrow down the differences on tariff issues amongst the participants and was hopeful that the parties would be able to bridge the gap and make the CASA-1000 project workable.

Mr. Philippe expressed satisfaction regarding narrowing down of tariff issues amongst CASA-1000 participants and asked Finance Minister Dar to keep the momentum going. He said that the project is also good for Afghanistan. He said he was heartened by the commitment of Pakistan government to regional integration.

The two sides also discussed the World Bank flagship program of Income Support Program.

The Finance Minister shared that the Government is not only committed to continuing with the program but also keen to increase the size and number of families covered.

The Government is also going to increase its spending on overall social safety net by cutting on government expenditure on other heads.

Finance Minister Dar also stated that with the recent build up of reserves Pakistan expected to become eligible for IBRD loans, which would enable it to undertake major projects. Mr. Philippe Le Houerou appreciated that Pakistan was likely to become eligible for IBRD loans and directed his team to work closely with the Government of Pakistan in selecting major projects that could be financed under IBRD.

Source: APP