World Bank Vice President visits Pakistan to discuss country’s development priorities

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World Bank Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer today concluded a week-long visit to Pakistan to discuss the country’s development priorities and how the Bank can continue to support the government’s reform program. Mr. Schafer was accompanied in his meetings by the Country Director for Pakistan, Mr. Najy Benhassine, and the Deputy Executive Director of Pakistan for the World Bank, Mr. Naveed Baloch.

During meetings with Mr. Shaukat Tarin, Minister of Finance and Revenue, Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Minister of Economic Affairs, and Mr. Hammad Azhar, Minister of Energy, Mr. Schafer underlined the importance of maintaining the focus on the structural reform program launched by the government, in particular in the electricity sector and with regard to fiscal sustainability.

“We urge the government to step up the pace of electricity sector reforms as they are essential for Pakistan to achieve higher economic growth and a resilient recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Hartwig Schafer, “The key problem for the power sector is to be on a financially viable basis to support the green, resilient and more inclusive development of the country.”

Meetings also focused on the importance of building fiscal resilience by harmonizing the general sales tax nationwide, creating an integrated debt management office, and ensuring a sustainable macroeconomic framework that encourages private investment. and growth.

Mr Schafer met Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss these key reforms. The government’s ambitious plans to invest in human capital, social protection and job creation were also discussed. The Bank has offered its support to ensure that new initiatives such as “Kamyab Pakistan” benefit from international experience, global knowledge and are implemented in a targeted, impactful and financially sustainable manner.

The World Bank Group is preparing its new five-year support program for Pakistan, the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for 2022-2026. The government’s development priorities for the coming years were discussed in this context. The PPC framework was informed through broad consultations with stakeholders to help ensure alignment with country priorities. Consultations were held with federal and provincial governments, parliamentarians, the private sector, civil society organizations, including women’s and youth groups, the media and academia, as well as development partners.

“I am delighted to see broad support for the direction of the new national partnership framework, which is structured around the development of human capital – in particular ensuring the health and education of girls and boys to give them the best. departure possible; the promotion of a cleaner and more environmentally friendly climate. resilient future, foster more equitable and inclusive growth and strengthen governance, ”Schafer added.

Schafer also met Mr. Asad Umar, Minister of Planning, Development, Reforms and Special Initiatives and Mr. Faisal Sultan, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister in charge of national health services. He reassured them of the Bank’s continued support to finance the purchase of WHO-approved vaccines for Pakistan. The Bank had previously restructured the Pandemic Response Efficiency Project (PREP) to provide $ 153 million for vaccine financing. He also assured Minister Umar of the Bank’s support to strengthen Pakistan’s planning function and statistical apparatus.

During his visit, Schafer also met with Mr. Malik Amin, Minister / Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Climate Change, Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood, Prime Minister’s Advisor for Trade and Investment, and Dr. Reza Baqir , Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. He recognized the government’s commitment to green and sustainable growth, decarbonization and clean energy, nature-based solutions and climate-friendly development. Recent macroeconomic, industrial and commercial developments were also examined.

During his meeting with Dr Sania Nishtar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister of Pakistan on Poverty Reduction and Social Protection, Mr Schafer was briefed on the fundamental progress made in the development of Pakistan’s social protection system and presented reiterated the Bank’s continued support for the Ehsaas program. , which is crucial in helping citizens in need cope with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and other socio-economic shocks.

Mr. Schafer also held virtual meetings with the Chief Minister of Sindh, Mr. Murad Ali Shah, and the Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mr. Mahmood Khan. He reassured them of the Bank’s commitment to support their respective sustainable development programs at the provincial level under the new CPP. He also met with a diverse group of parliamentarians and representatives of civil society and academia.


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