Dar meets ADB, AIIB, JICA Presidents

Yokohama, May 4 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad
Ishaq Dar who is in Yokohama Japan had a number of meetings on
sidelines of the 50th annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank
(ADB) which started Thursday.
According to press statement issued by the Ministry of
Finance, the minister met with the ADB President and briefed him
about the economic performance and achievements of Pakistan and
government’s policies to enhance growth while reducing budgetary
The Finance Minister highlighted that due to effective steps
taken by the government, the GDP growth rate was at an eight years
high in FY 2016 i.e at 4.7% whereas the fiscal deficit had been
reduced by more than half i.e. from 8.8% to 4.6%.
The Finance Minister highlighted that these achievements in
economic growth had been achieved despite Pakistan waging war
against terrorism which had cost more than $3billion for security
operations in last three years alone.
He said that Pakistan has setup the Pakistan Development Fund
for the development of critical infrastructure and hoped that ADB
would strengthen its support for such an important initiative.
President ADB lauded Pakistan’s efforts and stated that there
was wide spread recognition of government’s success in turning the
economy around.
He said that improvement in economic fundamentals greatly
assures the international investors and donors alike and now it was
expected that more foreign direct investment would flow towards
Finance Minister later met with the President of Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB).
The AIIB President stated that Pakistan’s economic growth rate
was appreciable and its positive impact was well spread amongst all
segments of the society.
During the interaction the Finance Minister thanked the
President for grant of first two projects of AIIB to Pakistan and
briefed him that the government had substantially strengthened the
social security net in last three years from Rs.43 Billion to Rs.117
He also stated that poverty had substantially reduced from
around 64% in 2000 to 29% in 2016.
The Minister informed that Pakistan Investment Bank was being
created with IFC in the lead to cater to the needs of the private
sector infrastructure projects. The President of AIIB assured bank’s
support to the Finance Minister.
Finance Minister during a meeting informed President of Japan
International Cooperation Agency (JICA) that after achieving macro-
economic stability the government had set its sight on achieving
sustainable, inclusive and higher growth.
Commenting on CPEC initiative, the Finance Minister explained
that CEPC was not just a bilateral project rather it is an
initiative leading towards regional connectivity and development,
therefore, all interested were welcome to come and take advantage of
the opportunities and invest.
He reiterated that CPEC offered a major share for investment
to the private sector to the tune of $34billion hence the
misconception regarding debt sustainability of Pakistan vis-a-vis
CEPEC funding was unfounded.
President JICA thanked the Finance Minister and assured that
JICA would maintain and enhance its engagement in Pakistan
especially for human resource development.
Speaking as a panelist at a seminar chaired by President of
ADB on the launch of Book to celebrate 50 years of ADB, the Finance
Minister praised the role of ADB in supporting growth and progress
in Asia.
He highlighted the evolution and changing role of ADB
especially as it had been flexible in adopting challenges and
corresponding response.
The Minister remarked that next decade and millennium belong
to Asia.
On the margins of the conference, the Finance Minister also
met with the Finance Minister of Indonesia, Shri Mulliani. Both
discussed matters of mutual interest and hoped to further cement
bilateral cooperation.
In his meeting with the Finance Minister of Maldives Ahmad
Munawwar, the Finance Minister reiterated Pakistan’s commitment to
Maldives economic development and said that Pakistan deeply values
its relationship with Maldives.
In response, Maldives Finance Minister recalled Pakistan’s
gift of building Maldives Parliament House and requested Pakistan’s
assistance in capacity building towards its fiscal consolidation.