YOKOHAMA, JAPAN: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday emphasised on the need to expedite process of trade liberalisation program among SAARC nations.
The finance participating in an informal meeting of SAARC on the sidelines on the Asia Development Conference in Yokohoma expressed confidence that SAAARC would make progress and realise its true potential.
He said that regular meetings of economic leaders would help enhance cooperation among member states, promote trade, and will help improve quality of life of one-fifth of the world’s population.
He emphasised that intra-regional trade is far below its potential and there is a need to expedite the process of trade liberalization program under SAFTA.
He also highlighted the positive economic indicators in Pakistan including achievement of higher GDP and substantial decrease in fiscal deficit.
He stated Price Waterhouse cooper (PWC) has projected Pakistan to join G20 by 2030 in its latest report due to economic stability achieved in last three years.
Pakistan invited to join Asia Pacific Climate Fund
Ishaq Dar met with a German delegation headed by parliamentary State Secretary Mr. Hans-Joachim Fuchtel who invited Pakistan to join Asia Pacific Climate Fund and offered assistance in climate risk insurance.
Mr. Futchel appreciated German cooperation with Pakistan dating back to 1961 encompassing energy, health, education, governance, sustainable development and micro finance sectors.
The Finance Minister stated that Germany is Pakistan’s largest trading partner within the European Union, and should explore further investment opportunities.
He reiterated that new areas of cooperation had been explored during recent talks in Islamabad. Mr. Fuchtel hoped that mutual cooperation between the two countries would enhance further.
Enhance relations with OFID
Later, Ishaq Dar met with the delegation of OPEC Fund for International Development headed by Ms. Cordero and acknowledged OFID’s role as a reliable development partner.
The Finance Minister briefed the delegation about the effect of economic reforms on stability and progress in Pakistan, and mentioned the establishment of Pakistan Development Fund and Pakistan Infrastructure Bank.
He expressed desire to further strengthen relations with OFID. The delegation acknowledged the economic revival in Pakistan and hoped that bilateral engagement would enhance.
Govt ensure transparency in nation budget preparation
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said that the government has taken steps to ensure transparency in national budget preparation, government procurement and service delivery.
During a meeting with Mr. Sanjay Pardhan, CEO Open Government Partnership, the finance minister referred to the open and transparent procurement adopted for LNG projects which saved around $900 million and was appreciated to the extent that it is being taken up as a case study.
He added that several steps had been taken to facilitate establishing and operating businesses in Pakistan which have been appreciated by private sector and are reflected in improvement of score in “Ease of Doing Business Index’ by World Bank.
“Government acknowledged the importance of private sector in its contribution towards economic growth and hence substantial consultation is held with it during preparation of the budget,” he said.
The minister reaffirmed that these steps contributed towards Open Government and ensure information sharing and transparency.
The CEO of the Open Government Partnership acknowledged the steps taken to ensure transparency in public procurement and urged that further engagement and assistance would add positively to the future economic endeavors in the country.