US to remain engaged with Pakistan in economic reforms efforts, Wells tells Dr Shaikh

August 06, 2019

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Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh chairing a meeting with Ambassador of USA to Pakistan Alice G Wells along with US treasury officials  Scott Rembrandt, Grant Vickers, David Galbraith and others. — APP
Prime Minister's Adviser on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh chairing a meeting with Ambassador of USA to Pakistan Alice G Wells along with US treasury officials Scott Rembrandt, Grant Vickers, David Galbraith and others. — APP

United States senior diplomat Alice G Wells on Tuesday said that "the US will continue to remain engaged with Pakistan in its economic reforms efforts", a statement released by the Ministry of Finance said.

The US State Department Official for South and Central Asian Affairs also communicated the US' interest to "help build an environment that facilitates business development between the two countries".

Her remarks came during a meeting held between delegations of both countries to review progress in initiatives taken by Pakistan towards the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Action Plan and the key challenges faced in this regard.

The US delegation was led by Wells and included US Treasury officials Scott Rembrandt, Grant Vickers, David Galbraith among others.

On Pakistan's side, the delegation was led by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh.

During their discussions, Shaikh underscored the importance of a bilateral engagement between US and Pakistan and the need to "encourage entrepreneurs" from the private sector of both countries which "will lead to enhanced trade".

According to the statement, the adviser apprised the US delegation of the government's "significant steps in bringing "financial discipline that include reduction in Current Account deficit, focus on increasing revenue generation, measures to reduce fiscal expenditures, reduce fiscal borrowings, efforts to enhance foreign exchange reserves through bilateral and multilateral support, arrangement of petroleum credit facility with KSA (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) and IDB (Islamic Development Bank) and IMF Programme".

The US delegation was also informed that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) are being "resourced and empowered" as part of the country's institutional development initiative.

"At the same time to support economic growth and facilitate the people below the poverty line, various programmes to support our export oriented industries and health insurance schemes have been introduced for the poor," added the statement.

Shaikh informed the US delegation that the government is putting in "all-out efforts to complete the Action Plan". He said that the government was "involving all relevant authorities at the federal and provincial levels, with the added benefit of "capacity building through international partners".

He expressed Pakistan's commitment to "enhance the effectiveness of its AML/CFT Framework being undertaken by the government with the objective to ensure that all the actions that are being taken to curb terror financing are irreversible and sustainable".

The adviser urged that continued support by the international community be provided so that the AML/CFT Framework can be strengthened over a longer period of time.