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Wednesday May 29, 2024

WB backs Pakistan’s reforms and plans to stabilise economy

The minister highlighted the Pakistani government’s commitment to advance significant reforms in taxation, energy and privatisation sectors

By Wajid Ali Syed
April 18, 2024
Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb (left) meets Ajay Banga, President World Bank Group. — PID/File
Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb (left) meets Ajay Banga, President World Bank Group. — PID/File

WASHINGTON: The World Bank (WB) and Pakistan on Wednesday agreed on the need for a rolling Country Framework Plan for 10 years. Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb met WB President Ajay Banga.

The WB president assured his full support for Pakistan’s reforms and digitalisation programmes to stabilise the economy, said a statement issued by the Finance Ministry.

The minister highlighted the Pakistani government’s commitment to advance significant reforms in taxation, energy and privatisation sectors, and underscored the importance of digital technologies to enhance governance and public service delivery.

He invited the WB president to visit Pakistan and assured that the government was keen to work closely with the bank to pursue the revenue reform agenda as well as timely investment in critical areas to help improve the domestic revenue mobilisation.

The finance minister spent a busy day in engagements with the leadership of Bretton Woods and other financial institutions, advocating his reforms agenda and called for a proactive global financial safety net to tackle elevated risks. He attended the Middle East, North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan (MENAP) ministers and governors meeting with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) managing director.

It was expected that the minister might get a separate meeting with the Fund MD.

In his MENAP speech, Aurangzeb underscored aggressive reforms that include broadening tax net, privatising loss-making SOEs, expanding social safety net and facilitating private sector growth, a post on X by the finance ministry said. He also urged rechanneling SDRs, reviewing surcharges policy and prioritising Resilience and Sustainable Trust for climate resilience.

The finance minister also met with Scott Nathan, head of the International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), hoping that the DFC would expand its portfolio in Pakistan following the resolution of outstanding issues. He also requested DFC’s assistance in the areas of debt financing, political risk insurance and capacity building to develop and implement potential DFC projects.

The finance minister also met Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa where he highlighted the importance of ongoing projects and future collaboration, emphasising the important role ADB’s support played in addressing macro-economic imbalances, stabilising the economy, boosting growth and achieving sustainable development.

Earlier, speaking at the V20 Ministerial Dialogue XII ‘Unlocking Growth and Prosperity through Innovations in Climate Finance and Debt’, Aurangzeb mentioned Pakistan’s vulnerability to climate-induced disasters and underscored that developed countries must fulfill their financial commitments and provide additional financing, technology transfer, and capacity building assistance to developing countries, including Pakistan, to address the climate challenges.

The finance minister also met with his Saudi, UAE and Turkish counterparts where he expressed gratitude for their steadfast financial support to Pakistan. They also exchanged views on economic and investment relations.