Finance Adviser Lauds WB’ Role in Extending Fiscal Space to Fight Covid-19 Effectively

Islamabad, October 22, 2020 (PPI-OT):Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh held a virtual meeting with Managing Director, World Bank Axel Van Trotsenburg and Vice President SAR, World Bank Hartwing Schafer as part of virtual annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank 2020.The meeting was also attended by Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar and Special Assistant on Petroleum Nadeem Babar. Governor State Bank, Dr. Reza Baqar also participated in the meeting through video link.

Finance Adviser appreciated the role of the World Bank in extending assistance to Pakistan to provide much-needed fiscal space to fight COVID-19 pandemic effectively. In his remarks, Adviser Finance gave an overview of the current economic situation and highlighted reforms for sustainable economic growth. The Government has followed an aggressive policy for curtailing its expenditure and focused on raising revenues by mobilizing internal resources. Tax collection increased by 17 percent before COVID-19 crisis. The primary deficit was in surplus in March this year which was a great achievement.

Adviser Finance underlined that the government devised a mechanism for cash transfer to support 16 million deserving families during testing times. The Ehsaas Program was acknowledged due to its transparency and in-time facilitation during the pandemic. Likewise, Government took numbers of steps to keep small businesses afloat by sharing the load through subsidies on pay rolls etc. On the occasion, SAPM on Petroleum and Minister for Economic Affairs briefed about the efforts underway in the energy sector for bringing efficiency into the system by streamlining ageing power plants in the Government sector and commitment to resort to renewable energy in future. The World Bank appreciated the reform agenda of the present Government and reiterated commitment to support Pakistan through IDA 2020 during COVID-19 crisis.

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