ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said the government would continue its reforms programme in the next two years, as series of reforms in different sectors had helped in attaining macro-economic stability.

“Pakistan has made visible strides in terms of improvement in the economy over the last three years,” he said while talking to Chief Executive Officer of Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) of the World Bank Ms Keiko Honda.

The minister welcomed the guest and thanked her for accepting the invitation to visit Pakistan.

He gave a brief overview of Pakistan’s current economic profile and said that the forex reserves were at the highest ever level of $23 billion, while revenues stood at Rs3112 billion, showing a 60 percent increase from where they were three years ago.

“The economic growth of 4.71 percent is highest in the last eight years. International rating institutions have recognised these achievements and hence improved country’s credit rating,” Dar said, and added, “The government has complete focus on growth and its policies are geared towards that objective.”

Elaborating further, the minister said a number of measures had been included in the budget 2016-17 to encourage exports, promote agriculture and industry in the country, which, he said, were likely to supplement government’s endeavours for a higher inclusive growth.

He also mentioned projects in the energy sector, including Dassu and Diamer Bhasha, which would help generate electricity and store water for irrigation.

Keiko on the occasion said that MIGA was supporting a number of projects in Pakistan.

She said that it was the first ever visit by a MIGA CEO to Pakistan, which indicated the increasing interest of the Agency in Pakistan.

She dropped the hint that the Agency could consider expanding scale of its coverage in Pakistan and actively play its role in accordance with the country partnership framework that the World Bank Group had committed with the Government of Pakistan.

She further said that MIGA was keen to meet and engage with the private sector of Pakistan to raise its profile, increase awareness about MIGA products and to facilitate foreign direct investment in Pakistan.

The minister replied that Pakistan considered World Bank group as its longtime economic partner and cooperation between the two would further grow due to MIGA CEO’s visit.

MIGA, as key institution of the World Bank Group, offers Political Risk insurance products.

The Agency works with investors across manufacturing, services, transportation/logistics, infrastructures as well as the power sector.

ITU assured of govt co-op

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday assured the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) of his full cooperation for the expansion of IT services not only in Pakistan but the whole region.

Talking to the delegation of ITU, led by Secretary General Houlin Zhao, Dar said that his visit had provided Pakistan an opportunity to strengthen its existing ties with ITU and had opened new horizons of cooperation under the banner of United Nations for Information and Communication Technologies ICTs.

Minister of State for IT Anusha Rahman was also present during the meeting.

Welcoming the guest, the finance minister congratulated him on being elected as the Secretary General of ITU.

He also acknowledged the services of ITU as a specialized agency of the United Nations for Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) working to standardize and regulate international radio and telecommunication services.

Dar also praised ITU for offering special services to Pakistan in managing relief activities in the wake of natural disasters.

He said that telecommunication industry’s boom in Pakistan began in the last decade, and had significantly contributed to the country’s GDP.

He further said that it was vision of the government to make maximum efforts for the development of the IT sector and for bringing telecom services within the reach of all Pakistanis.

The minister especially recognised the services of Anusha Rahman, who, he said, had played a key role in the promotion of IT sector and related infrastructure in Pakistan.

Zhao, on the occasion, appreciated the efforts of the government for the development of IT sector in the country. Stating ITU’s agenda, he said that it was to support and further increase the presence of small and medium sized entrepreneurs in the IT sector and attract further investment to the sector, particularly in application development.

He suggested that Pakistan should develop strategies to become more involved in such projects which promoted regional connectivity through the use of fiber optic cable.