ADB praises Govt’s macro-economic achievements, pledges support to energy, railway, infrastructure projects

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ISLAMABAD, Jun 20 (APP): The visiting Vice President of Asian Development Bank (ADB) Wencai Zhang on Monday appreciated the government’s efforts and reforms strategy, which has resulted in achieving economic stability in the country.

We highly appreciate the government of Pakistan for its efforts and its reforms agenda in achieving macroeconomic stability including reducing fiscal deficit, improving GDP growth and steps taken for the development of infrastructure specially in energy sector, he said while addressing a press conference here at ADB office this afternoon.

He was flanked by Country Director ADB, Werner Liepach and was visiting in connection with ADB’s 50 years partnership with Pakistan.

Welcoming China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Vice President ADB said that this project would not only benefit China and Pakistan but also play an important role in generating economic activities beyond the two countries.

He added that this project would also promote intra-regional trade besides connecting various regions for the benefit of the people of the region.

Highlighting his recent visit to Pakistan, the Vice President ADB said that this was his third visit to Pakistan and during his five-day visit, he has visited Karachi and Gwadar port.

He is visiting Pakistan to know and review the development projects and more avenues for cooperation in the field of economic development in the country.

He said he has also met with minister for finance, Muhammad Ishaq Dar, Minister for Planning and Development, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Railways, Khawaja Saad Rafique , Chief Minister Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah and senior government officials in Gwadar port and discussed with them ways and means to further enhance cooperation in the field of development specially supply of water and development of infrastructure in the city.

Appreciating the Gwadar port project, he said that this port has great potential for the benefit of the people of Pakistan and the province.
He lauded China for doing a lot for the development of Gwadar port city and its infrastructure development to link Gwadar with other parts of Pakistan.

The CPEC, he said would change the real life of the people of the country through enhanced economic activities, road and railways links and transportation.

Replying to a question, Mr Zhang said that Diamir Bhasha Dam is a mega project for generation of electricity adding that ADB is undertaking feasibility regarding environment with USAID in this regard.

He said that this is a US $10 billion project and requires huge amount and this project could be initiated with the help of other development partners.

He pleaded that ADB would support Pakistan in overcoming its energy shortages whatever it can.

Vice President of ADB, Wencai Zhang said that however Pakistan
government has not formally requested for any assistance for the construction of Diamir Bhasha Dam project.

He said the Bank would extend US $150 million for Pakistan this year
under its country strategy.

Zhang said the ADB has also signed an agreement with Pakistan for
provision of $100 million to build remaining 64 km section of motorway
(M-4) connecting Shorkot and Khanewal in Punjab province.

He said that energy is an important sector for Pakistan’s economy
and added that the bank would extend support in this sector to help the country overcoming the energy shortages.

While lauding the government reforms, the Vice President of ADB
said that the government has ownership for the reforms.

He stressed the need for diversifying energy sector through exploiting renewable energy including solar, coal, gas and thermal to overcome the energy shortages in the country. Loadshedding has slightly improved in the country.

He said that the government has achieved a GDP growth of 4.7
per cent while the ADB projected a growth of 4.5 per cent by end of
current fiscal year.

He added that the growth rate of 4.7 per cent is realistic as he
was informed by the finance minister Ishaq Dar during his meeting on
Monday.

He expressed the hope that Pakistan has potential to enhance its
growth to 7 per cent or even more if government has to make more efforts and investments in this regard.

Highlighting the importance of private sector, the Vice President
of the Bank said that private sector can play vital role in the growth
of sustainable economic development.

However, he said this requires leveraging of private sector for
industrialization, job creation and economic growth.

He called for diversifying economy for making the industry
more competitive and for prosperity of the country.

He also called for making textile sector more competitive for the
benefit of the country.

The ADB vice president further said that China has achieved progress
by promoting special economic zones (SEZs) by incentivizing the investors in the zones.

Likewise, he said Pakistan can also achieve progress and prosperity
by promoting SEZs in different parts of the country.

He added that Pakistan can exploit its cheap labour in these zones.

He has also visited Special Economic Zone industrial park in Korangi
Karachi.