Islamabad, March 07, 2014 (PPI-OT): Mr. Philip Barton, British High Commissioner accompanied by Mr. Richard Montgomery, Head of UK Department for International Development, called on Federal Minister for Finance, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar at the Finance Ministry today.
The Minister informed the delegation that our economy is performing much better as all the economic indicators are on the positive side. The GDP is growing up and the rate of inflation is going down. The Finance Minister said that during the last seven months of the current fiscal year there has been 17% growth in taxes collection whereas it was less than 3% last year.
He said that we are confident to meet our targets for the current fiscal year. He added that we would be sticking to disciplinary mechanism on expenditure side and enhance your allocation for developmental activities and disbursements to poor people through social safety networks.
He emphasized that there was a great potential for trade expansion with the United Kingdom in the light of Prime Minister’s vision for consistency in economic policies and creating an atmosphere where foreign investors could invest in energy, hydrocarbons and infrastructure projects.
The Finance Minister also briefed the High Commissioner about his recent visit to Afghanistan and development projects including Torkham-Jalalabad Highway and Kidney Hospital, undertaken by Pakistan.
He said that these are the signature projects between Pakistan and Afghanistan which were close to our hearts. The Minister concluded that the best way the United Kingdom could help is to encourage the international investors to grab the huge potential and opportunities available in Pakistan in energy and infrastructure.
The High Commissioner said that making Pakistan more prosperous was key to our relationship. He said that we were very keen to work with Pakistan on enhancing our commercial and economic relations. He said that the Pakistani diaspora in United Kingdom was of a great value for us. He said that we were impressed with the transparency and merit oriented policies at the government.
He added that in a democracy, fundamental policy of the government is to collect taxes and allocate resources for development. He also appreciated Minister’s visit to Jallalabad, despite security issues on the day when a terrorist act happened in Kunar province. He expressed his Government’s resolve to work with Pakistan in bringing peace and prosperity to the region.
Moreover, the High Commissioner added, that we were of firm belief that CASA-1000 and energy corridor between Pakistan-Afghanistan and Central Asian Republic States would promote regional trade and the United Kingdom is willing to help in these projects. He also assured the Finance Minister that United Kingdom was looking forward to help Pakistan in meeting their economic problems and bringing in foreign investment.
Mr. Montgomery said that UK AID was working with the State Bank of Pakistan, Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund and other public and private banking sector for providing agricultural financing including micro-enterprise loans and savings services to the rural low income clients in Pakistan. He said that the initiative would spur innovative practices to increase financial services in the agriculture sector.
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