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PM lauds monetary institutions help to Pakistan

26 April, 2007

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ISLAMABAD: Prudent economic policies and the successful implementation of first generation reforms has transformed Pakistan's economic landscape and now the government is actively pursuing the implementation of second generation reforms to ensure shared and equitable growth for all segments of society, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz has said.

The Prime Minister was talking to Mr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali, President Islamic Development Bank, Mr. Praful C Patel, Vice President World Bank and Mr. Liqun Jin, Vice President Asian Development Bank who held separate meetings with him here today. They are visiting Pakistan to attend the Pakistan Development Forum.

The Prime Minister appreciated the technical and financial assistance provided by the three Banks in the implementation of reform agenda of the government, infrastructure development, social development and poverty alleviation projects.

The Prime Minister gave an overview of the economy in the meetings. He out lined energy, water and food security, infrastructure and human resource development, provision of the facilities of health, education and drinking water to all as the major priorities of the government for the next 5-10 years.

Talking to Mr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali, President Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Prime Minister acknowledged the role played by IDB in the development of Muslim countries. He said the Ummah could take justifiable pride that the IDB has evolved into an internationally recognized and reputable institution under the inspiring and highly competent leadership of Dr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali.

The Prime Minister appreciated the support provided by IDB to Pakistan in its development process and said Islamic Development Bank consistently played a vital role in Pakistan's economic development which is deeply appreciated all across the country.

The Prime Minister also appreciated the support of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and King Abdul Bin Abdullah Aziz for their consistent support for Pakistan.

Mr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali said Pakistan enjoys a unique position in Islamic World and the IDB and Islamic Countries look towards Pakistan for guidance.

Mr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali apprised the Prime Minister of the Banks plans to launch Poverty Alleviation Fund and aware of soft loans under the programme.

Mr. Ahmed Mohammad Ali said the $ 500 million announced by IDB for the earthquake affected areas of Pakistan will be committed before the end of the year and 70 percent of this amount will be disbursed during the same period.

Talking to Praful C Patel, Vice President World Bank, the Prime Minister said high growth achieved by the country during the last few years has positioned it among the fastest growing Asian economies. He said this year growth prospects look good and we are expecting to cross our growth targets. Per capita is also expected to cross the figure of 1000 $, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister said government's agriculture policy has contributed to enhancing the productivity of the agriculture sector. The government has launched several initiatives to encourage the use of latest research and technologies in the agriculture, livestock and dairy sectors.

The Prime Minister said that as a result of the success of reform agenda all social and economic indicators are showing positive trend. Over all poverty has declined reflecting broad-based and wide spread impact of economic growth and structural reforms as well as reinforcing our belief that we are on the right path leading towards progress and prosperity.

The Prime Minister said that sustained economic growth has led to the emergence of a growing middle class and a significant reduction in poverty. The number of people below the poverty line has declined from 34.5% in 2001 to 23.9% in 2005, in urban areas from 22.7% to 14.9% and in rural areas from 39.3% to 28.1%. In absolute terms, 13 million people have been lifted out of poverty, out of which 10.5 million belong to the rural areas, the Prime Minister said.

The Prime Minister said the country has a comparative advantage of the demographics, reforms and governance dividend and the government will leverage this factor for development.

He said consistency, continuity and transparency of policies has enabled the country achieve growth and development and we will continue to pursue the same policies.

The Prime Minister said that high growth has created a surge in energy demands. To bridge the gap in demand and supply of electricity, the government is increasing the capacity of public sector organizations in hydel and nuclear electricity. The private sector, which was encouraged to invest in the energy sector, will also be setting up new power plants, the Prime Minister added.

The Prime Minister asked Vice President World Bank to increase the volume of IDA.

Mr. Praful C Patel said World Bank has a positive assessment of Pakistan and the Bank appreciates the high growth and development achieved by Pakistan.

He said we are confident of Pakistan's absorptive capacity and the Bank is considering increasing IDA for Pakistan.

Talking to Mr. Liqun Jin, Vice President Asian Development Bank (ADB), the Prime Minister asked ADB to enhance its role in the infrastructure strengthening, urban renewal, mega city projects, human resource and social sector development and construction of water storages.

He said the government is focusing on improving the logistics chain to improve the competitiveness of our products. The completion of National Trade Corridor (NTC) Plan and building of North South Corridor will reduce distances, increase speed and remove the roadblock to our industrial development and trade enhancement, the Prime Minister added.

Mr. Liqun Jin said the development achieved by Pakistan during the last few years is encouraging and ADB is confident of Pakistan's bright future.

The meeting was attended among others by Advisor to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Salman Shah, Minister of State for Economic Affairs Ms. Hina Rubbani Khar and senior officials.

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