Islamabad - Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif on Saturday said that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves would be around $16 billion by the end of current year 2014.
The Prime Minister was talking to World Bank delegation comprising its MD and Chief Operating Officer, Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati and Country Director World Bank, Rachid Benmessaoud. The PM said that government has identified the priorities for next five years including energy and infrastructure sectors. Assistance of World Bank in the priority areas would support Pakistan in achieving its development targets, he added.
Highlighting the energy initiatives of the government, the PM said that Pakistan Energy Park in Gaddani includes ten 660MW coal based power generation plants, which will add 6600 MW to the energy supply of the country. Development of Thar coal and its utilization for power generation is also a priority area, PM added. Prime Minister said that due to the rational and pragmatic economic and monetary policy of the government, the economy of Pakistan has stabilized and is moving ahead in the right direction. He noted that World Bank could play a major role in supporting the efforts of Government of Pakistan in addressing the energy crisis. The Prime Minister appreciated the World Bank’s support to Pakistan in social, infrastructure, water and energy sectors.
Prime Minister said that Pakistan believes in good relations with Afghanistan and India. I believed in this policy in past and am pursuing it in my present government, PM told. Pakistan wants to have good relations with India regardless of whosoever is in power, PM said.
The World Bank MD appreciated the economic policies of government and said that the economic indicators of Pakistan are positive and it is striding on path of development. She assured continued support of World Bank for development projects. Later, Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director(MD), World Bank Group met with the Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar, at the Finance Ministry. The finance minister thanked the Managing Director for her personal interest in Pakistan related programmes viz CASA1000 and Dasu hydropower projects which are in the process of approval by the Board and clearance of 2 DPCs on March 19 by the Operations Committee which the MD herself chaired.
The finance minister highlighted that the macro-economic situation is improving as reforms are making progress; growth is picking up and inflation is in single digits. The finance minister informed the Managing Director about the steps taken by the government to put the economy back on track. He said the new government is pursuing a three-point priority agenda, focused on addressing economy, energy and extremism. Senator Dar also spoke about landmark steps the Prime Minister recently announced with the objective to generate business opportunities for the youth and assist them in attaining educational excellence. He said that our efforts have started yielding results in addressing long-delayed issues and pulling the country out of its economic woes. He underlined that changes are being contemplated in relevant tax laws for permanently eliminating the discretion of FBR to issue special tax exemptions. He said that the measures will lead to enhance revenue generation and the country will be able to spend more on the development programs. He underscored that privatization strategy is in place to provide a holistic framework for disinvesting public sector assets. The finance minister informed that good governance, transparency and zero tolerance for corruption remains the hallmark of the government in pursing strategic partnership with the private sector in PSEs.
Dar said that the Prime Minister has an agenda of addressing the core impediments hampering economic growth in consonance with its true potential. He said besides appropriate economic measures, the government is working on a plan to develop infrastructure and meeting the requirements of energy demand in the country. The finance minister said that the government has embraced a proactive energy policy to invite new investment in energy sector with a special emphasis on the renewable and cheap energy sources. He emphasized that the international assistance will help the government in addressing poverty and socio economic uplift of the people. The Managing Director, while appreciating, economic policies, said that World Bank will help Pakistan in poverty alleviation and promoting shared prosperity for the people of Pakistan. She said that Pakistan has an encouraging macro-economic framework and this will lead to enhanced confidence in Pakistan by international community and institutions. She also appreciated increased allocation for social safety network programmes. She said that Pakistan has strong support of the World Bank for its economic revival under its leadership. She added that the World Bank would expect that the progress on energy projects would be made on fast track. She mentioned that the focus of the World Bank will remain on tackling the energy crisis, increasing economic opportunity for women and youth and improving service delivery.
She also informed the finance minister that the World Bank will consider Country Partnership Strategy (2014-19) for Pakistan on May 1st this year and this reflects our commitment with the country. She underlined that participation of the private sector in energy sector reforms will be a strong message to the foreign investors and one success in this regard will lead to another success. She hoped success for Pakistan in launching of Eurobonds in the international market and auction of spectrum licenses. She concluded that the credibility of reforms and private sector participation will make Pakistan an emerging market for FDI.