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World Bank likely to enhance assistance for economic reforms in Pakistan

World Bank Likely to Enhance Assistance for Economic Reforms in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD – The World Bank has appreciated the Pakistani government’s ongoing reform efforts, particularly in the areas of power, governance and finance, and could strengthen its assistance to support the reform process in addition to balancing a mix between the mode of financing the projects and program loans.
Hartwig Schafer, World Bank Group’s vice president for the South Asia region, in a video conference with Economic Affairs Minister, Khusro Bakhtiar, also praised government initiatives to fight and reduce the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic successfully.
During the virtual meeting, the two sides discussed the performance of the World Bank’s ongoing portfolio in Pakistan in addition to likely initiatives soon. Schafer confirmed the World Bank’s continued support to the government of Pakistan during this difficult time.
At the start of the meeting, Schafer appreciated the ongoing reform efforts of the government, particularly in the areas of power, governance and finance, which would eventually allow Pakistan to unlock the potential for growth and help a faster post-Covid-19 recovery.
Responding to a proposal from Bakhtiar, he gladly agreed to reinforce the World Bank’s assistant for Pakistan to support ongoing reforms in addition to balancing a mix between the mode of financing projects and loans- programs.
Bakhtiar appreciated the continued support of the World Bank to Pakistan and assured him that the government was determined to continue structural reforms in multiple areas of the economy, governance and institutions.
He appreciates the $12 billion initiative proposed by the World Bank Group to help developing countries procure Covid-19 vaccines to treat up to 1 billion people as soon as effective drugs become available. Schafer has provided the necessary support to Pakistan for this initiative.
The Minister also held a separate virtual meeting with Alfonso Garcia, International Finance Corporation (IFC) Regional Vice President for Asia and the Pacific, and appreciated IFC’s initiatives in Pakistan.
He urged IFC management to increase its investment volume in Pakistan, especially in infrastructure, housing and tourism sectors. He stressed that the government remains focused on private sector-led growth; therefore, IFC’s support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, should be a priority.
Garcia appreciated the government’s ongoing reform efforts and accepted Bakhtyar’s invitation to visit Pakistan in the coming months to explore ways to further improve IFC’s interventions in Pakistan.
The two consecutive meetings between the Minister and senior officials of the World Bank Group were held on the sidelines of the virtual meetings of senior management of the Group within the framework of the annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
(Sahar News Monitoring Desk)

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