(07-05-2017, Yokohama Japan): The Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar had a half an hour long meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister/Finance Minister of Japan, Mr. Taro Aso. He apprised him of tremendous investment potential and remarkable improvement in macroeconomic indicators of Pakistan. He further said that Japanese Corporations should take advantage of the economic opportunities that exist in Pakistan of today. He said that Japanese Corporations already in Pakistan are enjoying tremendous beneficial run and JETRO survey puts Pakistan as the second most attractive destination for Japanese corporations. He also mentioned the PWC's recent report which predicts that Pakistan will be a member of G20 by 2030. He also said that the Pak-Japan bilateral relationship needs to be further revitalized. The Deputy Prime Minister appreciated the economic performance of the Government of Pakistan and stated that Pakistan is well poised for the Japanese and international investors as an attractive investment destination especially in the textile sector. He fondly recalled that he had visited Pakistan as the Foreign Minister. The Finance Minister extended invitation to Mr. Taro Aso to visit Pakistan on mutually convenient dates.
Delivering country statement in the 2nd Business Session at the 50th Annual Meeting of ADB, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar informed the participants about the economic turnaround of Pakistan. He said that the macroeconomic stability achieved by Pakistan during the last four years is due to successful implementation of a comprehensive structural reforms agenda which has been widely recognized by most reputed credit rating agencies, international financial institutions, development partners, think tanks, independent economists and experts. After achieving the macroeconomic stability, now the target is sustainable inclusive higher growth.
The Minister also commended the efforts and commitment of President of ADB Mr.Nakao in pursuing an organization wide reform agenda, contribution towards economic development and poverty reduction in the Asia pacific region. At the end of the session, Japanese Deputy Prime Minister expressed heartfelt gratitude to Minister Dar for his assistance and contribution as Vice Chair of the Board of Governors and presented him a momento amidst thunderous applause of the session.
The Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also attended the ADB's Governors plenary to discuss Strategy 2030 of ADB and acknowledged the extensive consultations undertaken by ADB to prepare new long-term strategy leading to 2030, which will outline vision for ADB's future engagement with Developing Member Countries (DMCs).
The Minister also gave various suggestions for new strategy and asked to consider differentiated approaches tailored to each country's / region's needs, increase volume of assistance to DMCs and ensure faster delivery, to assist DMCs in developing bankable projects, leverage private sector finance and developing out-of-box solutions, citing examples of Pakistan Development Fund and National Disaster Risk Management Fund.
He stated that emphasis should be focused on higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth while addressing inequality issues, jobs’ creation, and development of resilient infrastructure while strengthening ADB's position as the knowledge bank for Asian countries.
On the sidelines, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar also met with Vice President of ADB Mr. Wencai Zhang. He suggested that ADB should diversify into other sectors including education and healthcare. The Minister lauded ADB for the policy-based program loans for Energy Sector ,Public Sector Enterprises Reforms and it’s support for 10 new loans amounting to US$ 1.4 bio signed in 2016.The Finance Minister encouraged ADB to extend credit lines to Pakistan's EXIM Bank and actively participate in the Pakistan Development Fund (PDF).The Minister reiterated that Pakistan expected an increase from $ 2billon to $2.5 billion in ADB's Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) 2017-2019 keeping in view it's development and infrastructure needs. The Finance Minister emphasized that ADB's continued technical and financial support for CAREC initiatives will enhance regional connectivity and trade between Pakistan and other countries. The Vice President expressed keen interest in the new funds and sought further details to work on potential cooperation avenues.
In a meeting with Governor of Japan Bank for International Cooperation Mr. Akira Kondoh, the Finance Minister appreciated the contribution of JBIC for promotion of economic cooperation and investments of Japan in overseas countries. The Minister highlighted the opportunities for investment in energy, automobile, textile, surgical equipment, infrastructure, engineering, agriculture, home appliances and SMEs. Governor JBIC said that Pakistan and Japan go a long way in trade and economic cooperation. He said that government’s handling of economy is impressive. The President of JBIC, Mr. Maeda recalled his meeting with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Davos, Switzerland on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. He said that since Pakistan has a very large portfolio of LNG imports, Japanese Companies would be interested in building of LNG terminals in Pakistan. He also offered that Pakistan should consider floating bonds in the Tokyo Stock Exchange and he expects the response of the market to be very good. The Finance Minister said that the suggestions were indeed workable and exciting and Government of Pakistan would seriously consider these promising suggestions. The Finance Minister invited the Governor and his team to visit Pakistan to further explore areas of mutual cooperation.
The Finance Minister also met with a delegation of EU headed by Director General International Cooperation, Mr. Stefano Manservisi and praised EU's role as Pakistan's development partner with assistance focused on rural development, natural resource management and education. The Minister recognized humanitarian assistance provided by EU, especially during floods, and it’s support for temporarily displaced persons besides budgetary support for various sectors. The Minister further added that both sides are working together to implement decisions taken during 7th session of the Commission in November 2016 in various sectors including development cooperation, trade and investment. He assured GoP's full support for effective and timely implementation of projects under the Multi-annual Indicative Programme (MIP) 2014-2020. Mr. Manservisi appreciated GoP’s efforts and hoped that the programmes will be implemented within stipulated timeframes. He also hoped that the Pak-EU cooperation will further expand and enhance.
The Minister also gave interviews to the leading Japanese English daily, The Japan News and Television, Fuji TV.
Tokyo, PR # 32/2017