ISLAMABAD: The World Bank on Tuesday expressed interest in initiating projects facilitating long-term financing in Pakistan, including housing finance.

During a meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, a World Bank delegation led by Country Director, Patchamuthu Illangovan reviewed the bank’s portfolio in the country.

The World Bank delegation also included Mr Sebastian A Molineus, WB’s Director of Finance and Markets Global Practice, who is presently visiting Pakistan.

Mr Illangovan briefed the meeting on the status of various ongoing development projects.

Mr Molineus said economic reforms that have been implemented during the present government have been strategic, relevant and sustainable. He congratulated the finance minister on the successful implementation of reforms and the resultant economic turnaround. He also highlighted that the government’s reforms have also played a major role in increasing financial inclusion in the country.

Mr Dar expressed satisfaction on the progress made so far on various ongoing development projects being undertaken in Pakistan with World Bank’s support.

The meeting was attended by senior officials of the ministries of finance and commerce, SECP and World Bank.

Privatisation efforts: Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also reviewed matters relating to privatisation at a meeting held on Tuesday.

The Cabinet Committee on Privatisation is scheduled to meet this week to approve the transaction structure of Pakistan Steel Mills.

Chairman Privatisation Commission (PC) Mohammad Zubair briefed Mr Dar on the status of ongoing privatisation transactions. He apprised the finance minister on the status of various state-owned entities including Pakistan Steel Mills and SME Bank.

Mr Dar urged the commission to complete ongoing transactions in a timely manner whilst ensuring full compliance with the applicable laws and regulations.

Mr Dar emphasised that the government’s utmost priority with respect to privatisation is to ensure that transactions are conducted in an open, fair and transparent manner. The government is actively working to resolve the financial bleeding caused to the national exchequer by loss-making state-owned enterprises, he said.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2017

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