President World Bank was accompanied by Regional VP South Asia Mr. Hartwig Schafer, Ms. Ceyla Pazarbasioglu-Dutz, Regional Vice President IFC Ms. Snezana Stolijkovic and Country Director World Bank Pakistan Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan.
The Pakistani side comprised of Minister for Economic Affairs Muhammad Hammad Azhar, Minister Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister Water Resources Faisal Vawda, Advisor on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Advisor on Institutional Reforms Dr. Ishrat Hussain, SAPM Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan, SAPM Dr. Sania Nishtar, Governor State Bank Raza Baqir, Chairman FBR Syed Shabbar Zaidi and senior officers.
The Prime Minister, while welcoming the President World Bank to Pakistan, appreciated World Bank’s financial and technical support to Pakistan. He reiterated the Government’s resolve towards strengthening of economy, ensuring transparency and good governance, institutional reforms, tax reforms and socio-economic development of the marginalized sections of society. He said that ease-of-doing business, enhancing tax base, domestic resource mobilization, attracting foreign investment and financial reforms agenda s the foremost priority of the government.
Prime Minister Khan apprised that the government has launched various initiatives aimed at welfare of the youth, poverty alleviation and housing sectors that will ultimately result in economic development.
President World Bank Group, Mr. David Malpass appreciated Prime Minister Imran Khan for personally spearheading various flagship programs of the government. He also recognized the efforts of the government towards economic turn-around, reducing expenditures, practicing austerity and initiating reforms in critical sectors of the economy. He said that there was substantial progress in economic indicators despite Global and internal fiscal challenges.
Later, a round-table conference was also held wherein detailed discussions were held on issues related to energy sector and reforming tax regime of the country.
Minister for Economic Affairs Mr. Hammad Azhar, in his opening remarks, highlighted overall reform agenda of the government and the efforts being made for economic turn-around.
Advisor Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh gave an overview of the achievements made by the Government during last one year. He also underlined the efforts made by the government to stabilize the economy and to put it onto the path of growth. He said that there was a considerable progress this year on exports, containing fiscal and current account deficits, revenue collection, restricting expenditures and exchange rate stabilization.
Minister for Power Mr. Omar Ayub Khan and SAPM on Energy Mr. Nadeem Babar shared the strategy of the Government to overcome the issues related to energy sector including circular debt and efforts being made to diversify energy-mix with greater reliance on alternate and renewable energy resources.