World Bank assures Pakistan of support for economic, energy priorities

IFC extends support for early initiation of ILO, IFC programme, set up currency swap line.

Web Desk April 11, 2014
Dar tells World Bank, IMF and IFC executives about the state of economy of Pakistan. PHOTO: INP/FILE

The World Bank on Friday assured Pakistan of its support in in helping the country realising its economic and energy priorities, Radio Pakistan reported.

The assurance was given by the bank's Vice President Philippe Le Houerou at a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Washington.

Le Houerou appreciated Pakistan’s efforts in putting economy back on track, adding that the bank looks forward to working with the government to meet its priorities especially in energy and economic sectors.

Dar briefed World Bank officials about government's efforts to improve regional connectivity and trade with its neighbouring countries. He said we have also narrowed down tariff issues among CASA-1000 project participants.

Pakistan seeks early ILO, IFC initiation

Finance Minister Muhammad Ishaq Dar met with the Executive Vice President (EVP) of International Finance Corportaion (IFC) Jin Yong Cai in Washington DC.

During the meeting, Dar sought early initiation for the ILO, IFC ‘Better Works Programme’ in Pakistan to help offset Disney’s decision to discontinue outsourcing to Pakistan.

Cai assured Pakistan that the IFC would be happy to facilitate Pakistan in this matter and help it meet the required codal formalities for its initiation.

Dar said Pakistan’s permanent representative at Geneva had already met DG ILO and the two formalities indicated towards ensuring security to the ILO personnel carrying out this programme in Pakistan and taking all the four provinces on board with respect to ownership and absorption of the Better Works Program would be readily met by the government in Islamabad.

Cai said that all possible steps would be taken to ensure the early initiation of this Program in Pakistan and that his office would coordinate and work with the Pakistani mission towards that end.

In addition to the ILO programme, IFC said that the corporation was planning to set up a company in South Asia for infrastructure projects, which will benefit the energy sector of Pakistan.

Furthermore, Cai expressed keen interest in the issuance of the Pakistani rupee bond and setting up a currency swap line. He added that the IFC wanted to establish an international Pak Rupee programme, which will help protect local businesses from exchange volatility.

The IFC noted it was envisioning interest from investors from other countries in Pakistan including China.

IMF inquires about FATF compliance

Separately, Dar met with Deputy Secretary Treasury Sarah Bloom Raskin and briefed her about the economic recovery plan of the government.

The finance minister noted that the fiscal deficit is well below the target for the current year, with inflation down to single digits, and foreign reserves over $10 billion.

Dar said that by clearing the circular debt, 1700 MWs of electricity had been returned to the national grid.

He added that the country had had a successful review of the IMF programme and they were ready for the third review with all benchmarks fulfilled.

The Deputy Secretary noted the successful launch of the Eurobond and before inquiring about the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) compliance.

Dar said that legislation for Fatf compliance was in process.


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