Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif met a delegation led by Jin Yong Cai, Executive Vice President of International Finance Corporation (IFC), a constituent body of World Bank, at the PM’s House here Monday.

The Prime Minister appreciated World Bank’s continuous engagement with Pakistan that spans over half a century and acknowledged its valuable support towards many important areas such as rural development, public sector development, infrastructure development, roads, ports, railways, dams, social development including health, education water and sanitation besides power sector.

He acknowledged IFC’s current focus on energy sector to complement government’s efforts towards meeting energy requirements of the country and appreciated that World Bank’s largest energy portfolio in the world is in Pakistan.

The Prime Minister said that energy shortage and war against militancy are major challenges that the country is faced with and every possible effort is being undertaken to meet these challenges. He said infrastructure development, social sector development, good governance, uninterrupted, affordable and clean energy are some of the major priority areas of the government.

The Prime Minister said the government has put in place an investor friendly regime in the country and is facilitating both local as well as foreign investors to attract investment in all areas of economy especially energy, infrastructure development.  

Jin Yong Cai assured the Prime Minister of IFC’s continued engagement with the country for strengthening economy, the energy sector as well as other areas having direct bearing on socio-economic betterment of the people of Pakistan.

Minister for Finance Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Pakistan’s Executive Director in the World Bank Nasir Mahmood Khan Khosa were also present during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Executive Vice President and CEO, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Jin Yong Cai has said IFC would keep financing infrastructure and energy projects in Pakistan and also consider investment in hydropower generation.

A high level IFC delegation led by Jin Yong Cai is visiting Pakistan on the invitation of the Finance Minister which met him here on Monday discussing important matters on cooperation in various areas.

At the outset of the meeting, the visiting delegation offered heartfelt condolences on the tragic incident at Army Public School Peshawar. Minister Ishaq Dar said the incident had only added to the resolve of the Pakistani nation to wipe out the scourge of terrorism. He said Pakistan had lost thousands of lives in the war on terror and the economic losses crossed $100 billion. The continued war on terror had caused displacement of a large number of people in the tribal areas and the government needed resources for resettlement of TDPs.  

While seeking IFC’s extended support mainly in energy and infrastructure sectors, Ishaq Dar reminisced the last meeting with IFC in 2013 where among other matters, launching of Pakistan’s Global Rupee Fund was also discussed. The Finance Minister said IFC had not since indicated its response on this fund and that the matter should be expedited. The Finance Minister also invited the IFC to consider providing finances for the recently launched Pakistan Development Fund which was mainly meant for infrastructure development projects.

The Minister briefed the IFC delegation about his recent visit to Japan where he had assurance from the Japanese side for enhanced investment in Pakistan.  He said a state of the art Yamaha Motorcycle plant would start production in April. He also informed the IFC delegation that Japan would provide funding worth $850 million for the Lakhra Coal power project.

Jin Yong Cai apprised the Minister that IFC had an equity in CSAIL (China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited) which had actively taken up energy projects in Pakistan and would consider taking up hydropower projects. Cai said IFC would convey its position on the launch of Global Rupee Fund, agreeing that the matter had been pending for quite some time.

The Chairman Privatisation Commission, Mohammad Zubair on this occasion briefed the IFC delegation about the privatisation process undertaken by the government and apprised him about the twenty five key projects selected for privatisation in future. He said the Privatisation Commission would welcome IFC’s advisory support in this regard. Jin Yong Cai said IFC would certainly consider providing advisory service for the privatisation process.

IFC, it may be added to date, has committed over $5.2 billion cumulative investment in Pakistan. IFC’s current committed investment exposure in Pakistan is about $960 million in 44 companies, of which infrastructure (energy, ports, transport) accounts for 60pc, financial markets 21pc and general manufacturing and services 19pc. IFC’s current portfolio in the power sector amounts to some $475 million in 9 projects.