ISLAMABAD, Oct 23 (APP):The World Bank has appreciated Pakistan government’s reform agenda in various sectors and reiterated commitment to support Pakistan through International Development Association (IDA) 2020 during COVID-19 crisis.
The commitment was made during a virtual meeting of Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh with Managing Director, World Bank Axel Van Trotsenburg, and Vice President SAR, World Bank Hartwing Schafer.
The virtual interaction was held as part of annual meetings of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank 2020.
In his remarks, the Adviser Finance also appreciated the role of the World Bank in extending assistance to Pakistan to provide much-needed fiscal space to fight COVID-19 pandemic effectively. “The World Bank is our long-running development partner”, he added.
The meeting was also attended by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Khusro Bakhtiar and SAPM on Petroleum, Nadeem Babar. Governor State Bank, Dr Reza Baqar also participated in the meeting through video link.
During the meeting, Hafeez Shaikh gave an overview of the country’s current economic situation and highlighted reforms for sustainable economic growth.
He said the Government of Pakistan has followed an aggressive policy for curtailing it’s expenditure and focused on raising revenues by mobilizing internal resources.
Tax collection increased by 17% before COVID-19 crisis, the primary deficit was in surplus in March 2020 which was a great achievement. However the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis has reversed the economic gains of the government, he stated.
The Adviser Finance underlined that Government of Pakistan devised a mechanism for cash transfer to support 16 million deserving families during testing times.
He said the Ehsaas Program was also acknowledged due to its transparency and in-time facilitation during the pandemic. Likewise, Government took numbers of steps to keep small businesses afloat by sharing the load through subsidies on pay rolls etc.
On the occasion, SAPM on Petroleum and Minister for Economic Affairs briefed about the efforts underway in the energy sector, for bringing efficiency into the system by streamlining ageing power plants in the Government sector and commitment to resort to renewable energy in future.