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Pakistan on path to rapid economic growth: World Bank chief

Updated February 10, 2016

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ISLAMABAD: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House.—APP
ISLAMABAD: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim called on Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the PM House.—APP

ISLAMABAD: World Bank President Jim Yong Kim has said that Pakistan is now on the path of increased economic growth and prosperity.

He was talking to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in separate meetings held here on Tuesday.

Mr Kim, who is on his first visit to Pakistan, applauded the prudent economic policies of Pakistan government, saying that the country’s economic outlook had become stable which was the result of the efforts of its financial team.

He said Pakistan had an opportunity to become more ambitious in reforming its economy and reducing poverty in the country.

At the meeting with the prime minister, the WB president talked about the importance of pressing forward with economic reforms. He recalled his meeting with Mr Sharif two years ago in Washington and observed that the government had stabilised the economy over the three tough years.

As part of the World Bank’s continued support to the country, they discussed a development policy credit to promote economic reforms.

“Now is the moment for Pakistan to step up to a higher level of growth and opportunity for its people,” said Dr Kim.

The topics that came under discussion included strengthening the role of the private sector for creation of jobs, accelerating energy reforms, making improvements at the community level for better health and education facilities and ensuring anti-poverty measures.

The prime minister said his government believed in liberal and private sector-driven economy. “Our efforts are aimed at ensuring ideal business environment for the private sector as governments are not meant to do business.” When private sector is adequately facilitated, business benefits reach to people. When governments start doing businesses huge losses in the shape of subsidies are incurred.

The prime minister said his government was making all-out efforts to bring improvements in every sector of the economy, including development of mega-hydropower projects, rail and road infrastructure, education and health.

He said the World Bank assistance for the Dasu hydropower project and Tarbela-IV extension project would help the government in improving the energy mix and reduce dependence on expensive fuels.

Mr Kim supported Pakistan government’s tough economic decisions and said the World Bank supported the structural reform agenda. “Let me state that under your leadership, Pakistan has witnessed phenomenal improvements in all three sectors and we support your endeavours.”

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2016