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April 29, 2011

US aid withdrawal to make 0.14pc impact on GDP: Burki

National

April 29, 2011

KARACHI: Pakistan’s former finance minister and former vice president World Bank Shahid Javed Burki has said that if US civilian assistance is completely withdrawn, it will only have an impact of 0.14 percent on Pakistan’s GDP growth.
He made these comments in Geo News programme “Aik Sey Do.” Burki said that he was asked by the Washington-based Woodrow Wilson Centre to conduct a study on US assistance to Pakistan where he made this presentation.
The calculations were based on gross aid and around 40 percent of that amount goes to the American consultants and Pakistan only receives approximately 60 percent of the pledged aid.
Commenting on American military aid to Pakistan, Burki said that while this assistance is significant, the numbers are not easily available.
He said that it is wrong to assume that Pakistan will be accorded any special treatment by the International Financial Institutions since it is assisting the US and is the front line state in the war against terror.
He said the World Bank and the IMF are of the view that policy or programme implementation has become very difficult in Pakistan.
The IMF is a rule bound institution and it does not easily deviate from its rules and laws. He said that the IMF board will safeguard its own interest first and have lesser focus on American security interests.
Burki said that he agrees with the prime minister that there is no need of a technocratic government. Pakistanis should have faith in democracy and the elected representatives of the people should be allowed to function, however, the policy makers should fulfil their responsibilities and bear in mind that they will be held accountable and must deliver.
Burki said that Pakistani politicians should learn from the current turmoil in many Arab countries and realise that time is running out, and if they don’t get together to solve the economic issues of Pakistan it could lead to very difficult times ahead.
The former vice

president World Bank is currently advising the bank in preparing the Country Economic Memorandum for Pakistan.

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