Vice Chair for the 50th Annual Meeting of the Asian Development Bank, the Pakistan Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar co chaired along with the Finance Minister of Japan, Mr. Taro Aso the first business session of the 50th annual meeting of the 67 member ADB’s Board of Governors at Yokohama Japan. The session comprised of member countries’ statements, which inter alia touched upon sustainable and smart infrastructure development and financial cooperation amongst the member countries.

Income inequality was only one aspect of inequality whereas disparities in terms of gender, region and provision of basic amenities also need to be addressed to ensure sustainable development (Senator Dar Finance Minister of Pakistan)

The Finance Minister also attended the Round Table Conference on ‘Responding to Rising Inequality ‘ at Yokohama, Japan. Speaking on the occasion the Minister stated that developing world had made remarkable progress particularly in alleviating poverty in last two decades. He added that around 125000 people are coming out of poverty on daily basis globally and Asia is leading this endeavor of reducing poverty through its phenomenal economic growth. Referring to the economic turnaround in Pakistan, the Minister stated that after having achieved macroeconomic stability, Pakistan is now focused on achieving higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth. Highlighting the issue of rising inequality, the Minister stated that income inequality was only one aspect of inequality whereas disparities in terms of gender, region etc. also needs to be addressed to ensure sustainable development.

In this regard he referred to the Pakistan’s Vision 2025 which prioritized investments in human capital and social services, recognized the importance of inclusive and balanced growth and shared prosperity aiming at Redressel to geographical and social inequality. He added that present Government in Pakistan strongly believed that benefits of growth must be shared by all segments of society, especially the marginalized groups.The Minister highlighted the efforts to deal with horizontal and vertical inequalities including access of poor to health and education, endowment fund for education, work on social safety nets, skills development, disaster mitigation, increase in BISP budget allocation, implementation of National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The Minister showed confidence that development partners, including ADB would play important role in addressing inequality. Pakistan’s Finance Minister staunchly defends One Belt One Road (OBOR) Initiative amidst Indian Opposition. Financial and economic integration as well as regional connectivity is the name of the game.

While participating in the CNBC Debate on “Talking Trade”, the Finance Minister stated that regional economic integration is imperative for development of the people of Asia. He said it will be unfortunate if protectionist mindsets prevail instead of more expansive trade liberalization strategies. On opposition raised by the Indian Finance Minister to OBOR and it’s oft propagated impact on the sovereignty of states involved, the Finance Financial Minister firmly retorted that this concept integrates the regional countries economically without compromising on the principles of sovereignty. He further stated that CAREC, CASA-1000 and TAPI, which connect the region would usher in a new era of prosperity and development for peoples of the entire region. He emphasized that the future lies in financially inclusive development and economic integration of the entire region. Pakistan and China are committed to successfully implement CPEC Initiative which again would serve not only the region but others beyond the region as well.

Finance Minister spends another busy day at Yokohama, Japan Besides attending the Governors Roundtable Conference, Opening Session of the Board of Governors wherein His Imperial Highness Naruhito Crown Prince of Japan graced the occasion as Guest of Honour, First Business Session, heated debate of CNBC on Asia’s Economic Outlook-Talking Trade, the Finance Minister also attended lunch and reception hosted by the Finance Minister of Japan.