PR No. 196 FINANCE MINISTER MUHAMMAD ISHAQ DAR MEETING WITH WORLD BANK VICE PRESIDENT FOR SOUTH ASIAN REGION MS. ANNETTE DIXON Washington: April 23, 2017
Federal Minister for Finance & Economic Affairs Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar while apprising the Vice President Ms. Annette Dixon about the current economic situation in the country, said that Government has taken concrete measures to bring structural changes for the sustainable economic development.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that Government is undertaking energy sector projects at top priority to overcome loadshedding by early 2018. Around 25000 MW projects have been identified and are at different stages of implementation. Out of this, 10,000 MW will be added in the system by March 2018. In the meantime, there has been no loadshedding in the Industrial sector for last 03 years which is a significant achievement, he added.
Minister Dar further said that the present Government is in the process of making a Master Plan for energy sector. The Master Plan will take care of the future demand of the energy from various sectors of the economy.
Finance Minister further stated that the Govt. believes in inclusive & sustainable high growth. The Government has established the Micro Finance Company to extend micro-finance facilities to the poorer segments of society. The Govt. has tripled the allocation for Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) since 2013 and the number of beneficiaries has increased to 5.4 million.
Minister Dar appreciated that World Bank (WB) has been a great partner in Pakistan’s development. We are continuing on the path of reforms and will not make any compromise in this regard.
Referring to the CPEC, the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar stated that Government is giving top priority to private sector for implementing projects under CPEC and Government’s own exposure will be limited. The private sector will be given preference in selecting & setting up projects under CPEC.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed the WB team that Pakistan is one of the leading countries for ensuring financial inclusion and for this purpose a strategy has been devised which is being implemented thoroughly.
In response to a question about policy reforms in Pakistan, Minister Dar remarked that Parliament has so far passed 24 laws to create conducive & enabling environment for growth and private sector investment. Minister Dar further added that 10 more such laws are in the making, aiming at further facilitating the private sector.
Talking to the Pakistan Delegation, Ms. Dixon, Vice President, World Bank for South Asian Region said WB would like to work more closely with Pakistan. She appreciated the initiatives taken by the Pakistan Govt for putting economy on the path of sustainable economic development.
During the course of discussion, FM Dar proposed to the World Bank to finance a major project of constructing Highway from Peshawar to Kabul for improving regional connectivity. The World Bank has agreed in principle to finance the project. Minister Dar also proposed that the World Bank may consider leading a consortium to finance the Diamer Bhasha Project.