(05-05-2017 Yokohama, Japan): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met with a German delegation, headed by Parliamentary State Secretary Mr. Hans-Joachim Fuchtel and appreciated Germany's continuing cooperation with Pakistan dating back to 1961 encompassing energy, health, education, governance, sustainable development and micro finance sectors. The Finance Minister stated that Germany is Pakistan's largest trading partner within the EU. The Finance Minister emphasized that given the excellent investment opportunities in Pakistan; Germany might like to explore more investment avenues. The Finance Minister reiterated that new areas of cooperation had been explored in the successful negotiations held between the two countries in the recently held talks in Islamabad. Mr. Fuchtel expressed hope that mutual cooperation between the two countries would further enhance. He also invited Pakistan to join Asia Pacific Climate Fund along with offer of assistance in climate risk insurance to Pakistan.
The Finance Minister also met with the delegation of OPEC Fund for International Development headed by Ms. Cordero and acknowledged OFID's role as a reliable development partner. The Finance Minister apprised the delegation about economic reforms and their overall effect on the economic stability and progress. The Finance Minister mentioned the establishment of Pakistan Development Fund and Pakistan Infrastructure Bank. The Finance Minister also expressed desire to further strengthen relations with OFID through interaction and support at all levels. The delegation acknowledged the tremendous economic revival in Pakistan and hoped that bilateral engagement would enhance. The Regional representative of Kuwait Fund for Arab economic development also attended the meeting.
The Finance Minister also participated in the 11th informal meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers on the sidelines of the ADB conference. Speaking at the meeting, the Finance Minister expressed the confidence that SAARC would make progress towards realizing true potential and regular meetings of economic leaders would help enhance cooperation among member states while promoting trade. It will help improve quality of life of our people who accounted for 1/5th of the world's population. The Finance Minister emphasized that intra regional trade is far below its potential and there is a need to expedite the process of trade liberalization program under SAFTA. The Finance Minister also highlighted the positive economic indicators including achievement of higher GDP and substantial decrease in fiscal deficit. He stated that due to economic stability achieved in last three years the Price Waterhouse cooper (PWC) in its latest report has projected Pakistan to join G-20 by 2030.
The Finance Minister also met with the CEO of Open Government Partnership, Mr. Sanjay Pardhan, and apprised him about the practical steps taken by the Government to ensure transparency in national budget preparation, government procurement and service delivery. The Finance Minister referred to the open and transparent procurement adopted for LNG projects which saved around $ 900 Million and appreciated by all concerned to the extent that it is being taken up as a case study. He added that several steps had been taken to facilitate establishing and operating businesses in Pakistan which have been appreciated by private sector and have been reflected in improvement of score in Ease of Doing Business Index of World Bank. Government acknowledged the importance of private sector in its contribution towards economic growth and hence substantial consultation is held with it during preparation of the budget. The Minister reaffirmed that all these steps contributed towards Open Government and ensure information sharing and transparency. The CEO of the Open Government Partnership acknowledged the steps already taken by the government of Pakistan to ensure transparency in public procurement and urged that further engagement and assistance would add positively to the future economic endeavors in the country.
The Finance Minister also attended ADB’s Governors Seminar and held a meeting on the margins with the Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Ms. Shamshad Akhtar.
In between the meetings, the Finance Minister also gave a live interview to the Bloomberg Television and Japan’s national broadcaster, NHK.
Tokyo, PR 30/2017