WASHINGTON: The Executive Vice President of the International Finance Commission (IFC), Philippe Houerou, praised economic policies and financial discipline of the Pakistan government.

In a meeting with a Pakistani delegation led by Finance Secretary Dr Waqar Masood Khan, the IFC vice president appreciated improvement in macro indicators and growth rates of Pakistan.

Attributing the turnaround to economic policies and financial discipline of the government, Mr Houerou assured complete support from the IFC to Pakistan’s financial and energy sectors. He also discussed with the delegation the issuance of rupee bonds in Pakistan.

Pakistan represents the IFC’s second largest country exposure in the Middle East and North Africa.

Till September last year, the IFC had committed over $5.2 billion to the country. During the next few years, the IFC may invest about $500 million annually in Pakistan, with the focus on infrastructure projects, particularly renewable and low-cost power, financial markets, agribusiness, manufacturing, and services.

Dr Masood said that the improvement in macro indicators had led to increased presence of the World Bank group in Pakistan.

He invited the IFC to join other development partners like the ADB and China Development Bank in setting up the Pakistan Development Fund which would take infrastructure development in Pakistan to a higher level.

He shared with the IFC official the ambitious project of laying of gas pipelines to transport gas from Karachi to Lahore. In the first phase, an LNG line from Karachi to Lahore will be completed by the end of the current year.

Another line will be constructed with the help of Russia, and in the third phase, another line will be constructed to transport gas from Gwadar to Nawabshah.

Dr Masood said that in view of an improved investment climate, the IFC should set up a credit line for LNG and energy projects.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2016

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