ISLAMABAD: Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar averred that the incumbent government had taken a number of steps to stabilise the economy and made considerable progress in addressing macro-economic imbalances. “The recent approval of $1.5 billion by ADB for Jamshoro, ISP and power distribution projects will go a long way in strengthening the stabilisation process.
Ishaq Dar stated this while talking to World Bank Director Rachid Benmessaoud and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Country Director Werner E Liepach who called on the Finance Minister separately.
The finance minister pointed out that his government envisaged a bigger role of the ADB in the development of Pakistan, especially in the new important projects like Diamer Basha Dam, Dasu Power Projects etc. He said that Pakistan anticipated the ADB to extend technical and financial expertise in harnessing investments for an ambitious development plan of the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The meeting was attended by the Finance Secretary, Adviser on Finance Rana Asad Amin and senior officials of the Finance Ministry.
On the occasion, Rachid said that the World Bank had a very positive assessment of the Pakistani government’s reform programme and assured the bank’s support in this regard. While reviewing the ongoing projects, Ishaq Dar underlined the significance of balance of payments support and financing for the Dasu project.
It was agreed that the reassessment of other ongoing projects eligible for International Development Association (IDA) financing will be undertaken to make preparations for availability of IDA under new arrangement. Rachid said that the Development Policy Loan was on track and work so far done for the authorisation was appreciated. He informed the finance minister that a group of executive directors of World Bank were planning to visit Pakistan in March. Meanwhile, ADB Country Director Werner E Liepach informed the finance minister that the new Vice President of Asian Development Bank Wencai Zhang, who has recently assumed office plans his first visit to Pakistan on February 11.
During his visit Zhang will hold high-level meetings in Pakistan including the prime minister and also sign a $900 million loan agreement for the construction of 1,320 MW Jamshsoro Power Project. Werner also informed the finance minister that a Trade Finance Mission from ADB would be visiting Pakistan by the end of this month to hold talks with the government to explore extending a Trade Finance Facility.
He also said that ADB was also exploring the possibility of financing with Middle East sources together with designing guarantees based fund arrangement. Werner also discussed the ADB assistance programme for the next year which includes support to the power sector, transport, communication and development of financial markets. The finance minister appreciated the initiative of ADB to send a mission to explore the prospects of extending Trade Facility to Pakistan.