Islamabad - The World Bank (WB) on Thursday said that it would continue its support to Pakistan in its efforts for economic development and for the polio eradication and immunisation.

“We share with you the common vision of alleviating and eliminating poverty, and bringing prosperity to Pakistan”, said World Bank Vice President (South Asian Region), Annette Dixon while talking to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar. She conveyed to the Finance Minister, WB President Sri Mulyani’s keen interest in eradication of polio. Dar responded that the Government was committed to eradicating polio from the country in collaboration with its Development Partners. He lauded World Bank’s support for polio eradication and immunization.

“We hope that the World Bank will come up to the expectation of the Government in helping eradication of polio and immunization of each and every child of the country”, the Minister added.

On a query from the WB South Asia Vice President, the Finance Minister remarked that there existed strong political will to enhance revenues and, therefore, the Government had initiated key administrative and policy measures to improve Tax-GDP ratio which included rationalisation of concessionary regime (SROs), tariff reforms, broadening of tax base, tax payers facilitation and a number of other steps.

The visiting senior WB official at a meeting here Thursday had in depth exchanged views with the Minister on progress regarding World Bank funded projects and appreciated the headway made in different spheres, particularly lauding the macro-economic management by the present government which had helped realise economic stability in the country.

The Finance Minister while giving an overview of the sate of economy said Pakistan had successfully completed 6 reviews with the IMF, made a successful return to world financial market through Euro bonds, launched Sukuk, achieved the criteria to be eligible for IBRD economic packages. All the important economic indicators were positive, he said and added that it was all a result of the strict economic reforms agenda that the Government hade followed ever since assuming responsibilities back in 2013.

The Finance Minister pointed out that international rating agencies had accorded stable rating to Pakistan’s economy and Moody’s had recently enhanced its rating for Pakistan from stable to positive. The Minister added that the Government had set 4 Es Energy, Economy, eliminating Extremism and Education as its priorities and the World Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS 2015-19) was aligned with the Government’s economic development priorities i.e. transforming the energy sector; supporting private sector development; reaching out to the vulnerable/ poor and leveraging regional markets.

Dar appreciated World Bank’s support of financing in energy sector, especially mentioning Dasu Hydropower Project and CASA-1000. He also acknowledged Bank’s support of $1 billion for Development Policy Credits (DPCs-I) for Fiscally Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, and Power Sector Reform. He added that the Government had met all the prior actions for the Growth DPC-II, and had made significant progress on various prior actions agreed to in Power DPC-II; and remaining reform actions would soon be completed. The Minister was informed that for the next tranche of DPCs on growth and power the Operations Committee meeting would be held on 10th April.

Annette Dixon on this occasion expressed keen interest of the World Bank to help out the TDPs and ensure their resettlement. The Minister responded that Government of Pakistan was committed to help restore lives and livelihoods of TDPs affected by the ongoing crisis in FATA which had resulted into more than 300,000 displaced households. The return of FATA TDPs had already started from 15th March, 2015 and in the first phase 113,000 families would return to their homes. “We appreciate World Bank for joining hands with Government and offering financial support of $75.00 million for FATA TDPs. He said both the Zarb-e-Azb Operation and the rehabilitation of TDPs would likely require $1.7 billion.