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Iraq seeks help in banking, financial sector

December 06, 2005

ISLAMABAD, Dec 5: Iraq has sought Pakistan’s help to improve its banking and financial sector and to train its civil servants. The request for help was made by Iraq’s finance minister Ali Abdul Amir Allawi in a meeting with adviser to the prime minister on finance, revenue and economic affairs, Dr Salman Shah here on Monday.

Mr Allawi gave an overview of Iraqi debt burden and the efforts for gradual revival of economy after the constitutional arrangements.

He also informed the Pakistani officials about the increased participation of Iraqi forces to maintain law and order in the country after the fall of Iraqi President Sadam Hussain.

He hoped that there would be a visible improvement in the political and economic situation of Iraq as the country march towards normalcy.

Mr Allawi invited Pakistani entrepreneurs to participate in the reconstruction process in his country including public sector infrastructure and cement factories, the areas where the war ravaged country needs more attention, keeping in view the destruction caused by the use of massive weapons.

The meeting reviewed the over all economic relations between the two countries.

Dr Salman Shah informed the Iraqi minister that Pakistan had introduced structural reforms in banking and financial sector in line with the country’s policies of facilitation, liberalization and privatization.

“We have privatized most of the banks in Pakistan and now there is only one bank in public sector”, Mr Shah said adding that the National Institute of Banking and Finance in Pakistan had adequate facilities to impart training to the cadre of Iraqi bankers and officials that would contribute to improving the banking and financial sector of Iraq.

The National School of Public Policy, Mr Shah said, could train the Iraqi civil servants for their capacity building and improve their efficiency. He said the Central Board of Revenue (CBR) would also offer training to tax and custom officials of Iraq.

The adviser suggested to the Iraqi minister to send a team of experts to Pakistan for developing a capacity building programme so that Pakistan could devise a tailor-made training programme for Iraqi participants.

He suggested that restructuring and best practises used in Zari Tarraqiati Bank of Pakistan could be replicated by Iraq.