ISLAMABAD - Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms, Prof Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said that government had to take swift steps in the form of cutting extra public sector expenditures, reducing subsidies, controlling corruption and increasing tax revenue in order to arrest downslide of economy.

He said this in a meeting with Paul Robilliard, First Assistant Secretary, South and West Asia Division, Department of Foreign Affair and Trade, Australia.

He further said that the government has succeeded in turning the tide and inflation has been lowered to single digit.” In response to the query of Paul about the future plans of the government, the minister said,” We have devised a roadmap for future in the form of Vision 2025 and five-year plan.

The minister appreciated Australian government’s assistance in human resource development and proposed a more targeted approach in light of Pakistan’s needs.

He proposed greater cooperation in water, dairy and livestck sectors, in which Pakistan can greatly learn from Australian experience.

Paul Robilliard agreed with the minister that economic reform is a very difficult, painful and time taking process, as it destroys status quo, but definitely bring positive changes in the end. He agreed with the Minister that AusAID will coordinate with the Ministries to award more targeted scholarships to bring high value in it for the recipient country when the Minister showed that there is a need to use scholarships for the capacity building of finance, planning, agriculture, water and power and IT ministries.