ISLAMABAD -  Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has expressed the hope that the new Development Partnership Agreement between the Government of Pakistan and DFID will be signed soon.

The finance minister expressed this hope at a meeting with Priti Patel MP, Secretary of State for International Development, UK, who called on him along with members of her delegation here on Thursday.

The finance minister said that after having achieved macroeconomic stability, the government was now focused on attaining higher, sustainable and inclusive growth. He acknowledged the valuable support of DFID and said that UK and DFID were true partners of Pakistan. He said the government had submitted the letter of intent for joining the Open Government Partnership after becoming a signatory to the OECD Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters. He expressed the hope that the new Development Partnership Agreement between the Government of Pakistan and DFID would be signed soon. The finance minister apprised the visiting dignitary of the merger of the Pakistan Stock Exchange and the strong performance of the exchange over the last year or so.

Patel said that successful implementation of tax reforms, while conducting fiscal consolidation, was a remarkable achievement. She said the DFID programme in Pakistan was its largest globally. She said there were huge opportunities for collaboration in the future in economic development and education, and also in the fields of social security and health. Patel said the partnership with Pakistan was incredibly strong and that “we need to work together to further evolve and develop the relationship”.

Patel said that both Pakistan and UK must explore new and more diverse ways of forming connections, including through financial markets and stock exchanges. She said that dialogue could be held on exploring bilateral opportunities regarding market access, foreign direct investment and other opportunities that the financial markets of UK had to offer. Talking about the post-Brexit era, Patel said it was even more important now for the UK to enhance opportunities for trade and economic development, develop new partnerships and strengthen the existing ones.

Patel offered her condolences to the families of those killed in the recent spate of terrorist attacks in parts of the country. The finance minister appreciated her thoughtful sentiments and said the government was determined to undertake all necessary measures to eliminate terrorism from the country.