Yokohama - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is in Yokohama, Japan, had a number of meetings on the sidelines of the 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that started on Thursday.

According to a press statement issued by the Ministry of Finance, the minister met the ADB president and briefed him about the economic performance and achievements of Pakistan and government's policies to enhance growth and cut the budget deficit.

The finance minister said that due to effective steps taken by the government the GDP growth rate was at an eight years high in FY 2016 i.e. at 4.7% whereas the fiscal deficit had been reduced by more than half i.e. from 8.8% to 4.6%. He said that these achievements in economic growth had been achieved despite Pakistan waging a war against terrorism that had cost more than $3 billion for security operations in last three years alone. He said that Pakistan had set up the Pakistan Development Fund for the development of critical infrastructure and hoped that ADB would strengthen its support for such an important initiative.

The ADB president lauded Pakistan's efforts and stated that there was a widespread recognition of government's success in turning the economy around. He said that improvement in economic fundamentals greatly assured the international investors and donors alike and now it was expected that more foreign direct investment would flow to Pakistan.

The finance minister later met the president of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The AIIB president stated that Pakistan's economic growth rate was appreciable and its positive impact was well spread amongst all segments of the society.

During the interaction, the finance minister thanked the president for grant of first two projects of AIIB to Pakistan and briefed him that the government had substantially strengthened the social security net in last three years from Rs43 billion to Rs117 billion. He also stated that poverty had substantially reduced from around 64% in 2000 to 29% in 2016.

Dar said that Pakistan Investment Bank was being created with IFC in the lead to cater to the needs of the private sector infrastructure projects. The president of AIIB assured bank's support to the finance minister.

During a meeting, Dar informed president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that after achieving macro-economic stability the government had set its sight on achieving sustainable, inclusive and higher growth.

Speaking as a panelist at a seminar chaired by the president of ADB on the launch of book to celebrate 50 years of ADB, the finance minister praised the role of ADB in supporting growth and progress in Asia. He highlighted the evolution and changing role of ADB, especially as it had been flexible in adopting challenges and corresponding response. The minister remarked that next decade and millennium belonged to Asia.  On the margins of the conference, the finance minister also met Finance Minister of Indonesia Shri Mulliani. They discussed matters of mutual interest and hoped to further cement bilateral cooperation.

In his meeting with Finance Minister of Maldives Ahmad Munawwar, Dar reiterated Pakistan's commitment to Maldives economic development and said that Pakistan deeply valued its relationship with Maldives. In response, the Maldives finance minister recalled Pakistan's gift of building Maldives Parliament House and requested Pakistan's assistance in capacity building for its fiscal consolidation.