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Pakistan vows to continue work on major projects

September 27, 2011

Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. - File Photo

WASHINGTON: Despite financial constraints Pakistan will continue to work on major projects like the Diamer-Bhasha dam, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Tuesday.

Addressing a news conference at the Pakistan Embassy on the conclusion of a 10-day visit to Washington, Mr Shaikh said Pakistan would also continue to pursue the reforms it had introduced under an IMF programme.

The $11.2 billion loan agreement with the IMF ends on Sept 30 and Pakistan has decided not to seek another loan. “We opted out because we could not meet some of their conditions but also because we feel that we are strong enough to do so. We can live without this loan,” the minister said.

“But despite the end of this arrangement, we will continue to follow the tax reforms and austerity measures we introduced under the programme.”

The minister noted that Pakistan’s exports had increased by another 24 per cent during the last two months while the exports earned $18 billion. The country also received $11 billion from overseas Pakistanis during the last financial year.

The minister said that foreign investments also had continued despite security risks.

During finance minister’s visit, the World Bank signed an agreement with Pakistan to provide $300 million for promotion of higher education in the country.

An American finance agency OPIC inked an agreement to provide $ 20 million to a Pakistani company for construction of a modern 28-storey building in Karachi that would house business offices.

The IFC has indicated its agreement to give $ 150 million to bolster small and medium businesses in Pakistan.

The International Finance Corporation has been giving $1 billion dollars annually to Pakistan for energy, agri-business, financial sector and housing.

Meanwhile, China and Saudi Arabia showed interest in investment prospects in energy and infrastructure projects. Pakistan received a total of one billion dollars from the United States last year. It included half a billion dollars under the Kerry Lugar Act.