Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar on Tuesday said that CASA-1000 project is important for regional integration and success of this project would pave the way for bigger projects like TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) and others.
He said this while talking to Dr Omar Zakhilwal Minister for Finance, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan on the sidelines of the 39th Annual Board of Governors Meeting of Islamic Development Bank at Jeddah. The two Ministers discussed progress on various issues of common interest between the two countries, said an official handout issued by Finance Ministry here.
Dr Omar Zakhilwal briefed Ishaq Dar on the latest situation in Afghanistan and on the recently held elections in Afghanistan. He said that Afghanistan is looking forward to have a new government in office soon.
He updated the Finance Minister on his country’s point of view on CASA-1000 project and expressed his government’s willingness to resolve the issue of transit fee at the earliest. He said that Afghanistan desires for early completion of the project, as it will play an important role in promoting relations between the two countries and the region.
While emphasising on regional trade and economic cooperation, the Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar said that there is a lot of potential in enhancing trade between the two countries. He said that Pakistan desires to promote regional peace and security by promoting economic relations with its neighbours. The Finance Minister expressed his resolve to continue to work with Afghanistan with total commitment and devotion to the cause of cementing relations between the two brotherly Muslim countries.
Finance Minister said that CASA-1000 project was important for regional integration and success of this project would pave the way for bigger projects like TAPI. Moreover, there was a distinct possibility that success of this project may lead to its expansion in future and allow an interrupted supply of electricity from Central Asian States. Dr Omar Zakhilwal agreed that CASA-1000 is an important project for regional integration and should be completed on priority. He agreed that successful completion of the project will pave the way for uninterrupted supply of electricity from Central Asia throughout the year.
Meanwhile, a delegation of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) led by Dr Waleed Al-Wohaib Chief Executive Officer (CEO) called on Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar on the sidelines of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) 39th meeting of Board of Governors.
The delegation showed keen interest in enhanced partnership with Pakistan after admitting that Pakistan economy has shown progress and its economic and financial policies have gained international credibility.
Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar while welcoming the delegation highlighted that present government is concentrating upon economic and social progress to strengthen the economy and enhance its inclusiveness.
He said that it has adopted strategies to overcome the country’s macroeconomic challenges. The incumbent government is now in its second year and has embarked upon reforms agenda in economic and financial sector, he added.
CEO ITFC Dr Waleed Al-Wohaib said, ITFC is closely monitoring Pakistan and it has no doubts that it has visibly shown improvement at all levels. He congratulated Finance Minister for putting economy on track. ITFC is interested in enhancing its long term trade partnership with Pakistan in its endeavours to achieve its economic targets, he added.
The Minister thanked CEO ITFC for his comments and assured ITFC his fullest cooperation. He also highlighted the achievements made by the government of Prime Minister, Mohammad Nawaz Sharif. He said that the present government had developed a road map to overcome the security, economic and energy challenges being confronted by Pakistan.
He said that Pakistan had fixed a GDP growth target of 4-5pc during the next financial year, taking it to 6-7pc in the medium term. He stated that Pakistan had embarked upon a major reform programme that aims at fiscal stabilisation, mobilising domestic resources, phasing out subsides, restructuring the power sector and other public sector enterprises and strengthening the social safety nets.
He further said that after a period of 6 years, the country’s economy will grow by over 4 percent this year. At the same time, inflation will remain in single digits. Growth in both agriculture and industry has revived. Fiscal performance is also improving with deficit brought down to below 6 percent from 8.8 percent when the government took office. Federal Minister appreciated ITFC’s contribution towards economic development in Pakistan and hoped that ensuing years would witness further enhancement of ITFC funding for projects in Pakistan in various sectors. In the end, it was decided to have another meeting between Ministry of Finance and ITFC at official level during ongoing 39th IDB meeting and finalise a roadmap of enhanced cooperation between Pakistan and ITFC.