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July 19, 2019

Japan offers financing support, backs reforms program

Business

July 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Japanese government on Thursday expressed intention to extend financing support to Pakistan to help the country implement high-value flagship economic projects.

Japan’s Ambassador Kuninori Matsuda, during a meeting with newly-appointed Minister for Economic Affairs Hammad Azhar, reiterated commitment of his country to strengthen economic cooperation to support implementation of government’s reforms agenda.

Matsuda expressed intention of his government to provide financing support for implementation of high-value flagship projects in the areas of sanitation and waste management, clean drinking water and human resource development, including health and education, technical assistance and skill development to enhance productivity in the country’s economy.

Pakistan held sixth high-level economic policy dialogue last week with Japan in Tokyo to exchange views on the current state and issues of Pakistan’s economy, bilateral trade and investment, and measures to strengthen bilateral economic relations and to promote investment and export, and development assistance.

Japanese envoy further expressed support for export promotion and the ways and means to expand trade between the two countries. He conveyed keen interest of Japanese companies for investment in the export-oriented and import-substitution industries, including agriculture value chains, fisheries, food processing, home electronics, textile and auto part sectors.

Azhar thanked the Japanese ambassador for his support and reiterated support of the government for the potential Japanese investors to facilitate their investment in the country. The minister for economic affairs updated the ambassador on the key priorities of the present government and structural reforms agenda that was being executed to revive the economy.

“Investing in human capital, protecting poor and the vulnerable, completing institutional and governance reforms are high priorities of the government,” an official statement quoted him as saying.

Meanwhile, the minister for economic affairs urged the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to scale up its lending to Pakistan, including program lending and project financing, during a meeting with the bank’s country director Xiaohong Yang.

Azhar acknowledged the ADB’s support for Pakistan and discussed key priority areas and new avenues for future interventions.

“The government is keen to explore innovative financing models and mobilise investment in infrastructure and social sectors,” he said in a separate statement. “These initiatives will not only provide fiscal space to the government but also help boost economic activities in the country.”

Yang said ADB and Pakistan have successfully met many development challenges. She assured the minister of the bank’s support in the priority sectors as identified by the present government.

ADB’s country director briefed the minister on the bank’s ongoing interventions and pipeline projects. She updated the minister about the ADB’s program lending and special policy-based loan, including trade and competitiveness, energy sector resilience and capital market reforms programs.

“ADB is committed to expanding this partnership to increase prosperity of the people of Pakistan,” Yang said. The country director thanked the minister and reiterated the ADB’s commitment to further strengthen and expand its partnership with Pakistan.

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