ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and United Kingdom have discussed various aspects of UK development assistance to Pakistan during the Annual Aid talks held at the Economic Affairs Division on Friday.

Nargis Sethi, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, led the Pakistan delegation and Richard Montgomery, Head of Department for International Development (DFID) in Pakistan, led The United Kingdom delegation.

The Aid-Talks are an annual feature of the Bilateral Development Assistance Arrangement between the two countries. These talks review the progress against the mutually agreed pillars of poverty alleviation, achievement of Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), improvement in Public Financial Management, respect for international obligations and aid effectiveness.

During the talks both sides apprised each other of their strategic priorities. Both sides agreed to discuss one success story of a United Kingdom assisted development project. The project selected for this purpose was the Punjab Education Support Project which is being partly financed by DFID. Both sides agreed that the project has been able to deliver substantial results on account of the commitment and leadership provided by the Punjab Government, particularly the Chief Minister Punjab. Similar work is being replicated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with the assistance of DFID. It was decided that the Government of Punjab would host a workshop with all the provincial governments to share the lessons of the project so that the benefits of the experience in Punjab can be shared with others. 

Ms. Nargis Sethi informed the participants that the new government has very clear development priorities, which are being articulated, in the form of Vision 2025 and Five Year Development Plan. Both these documents are expected to be published within the next few months. She said that such articulation is required for monitoring the performance and to ensure delivery of results for the people.

Secretary EAD also informed the participants about the basic features of the vision of the government for reforms of the economy and development. She said that the strategy of the government was to revive the economy, create jobs and thus ensure alleviation of poverty. She also emphasised the importance of ongoing reforms in the energy sector to achieve these objectives. She said that combating extremism and promoting education were also basic cornerstones of this government’s strategy.

Richard Montgomery appreciated the economic reform initiatives of the government and said that United Kingdom would like to align its assistance to Pakistan with the priorities of the Government of Pakistan. He offered to assist Pakistan in its efforts to learn from international best practices in reforms, particularly to improve tax to GDP ratio in the country.