| Updated at: 1230 PST, Sunday, November 14, 2010|
ISLAMABAD: The two-day Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) began here today (Sunday) and is currently underway with an agenda of focusing and sharing with the participants and development partners the future development vision of Pakistan for the prosperity of its people.
Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh and Punjab’s minister Zulfiqar Ali Khosa are jointly chairing the moot.
Opening Pakistan Development Forum (PDF), Dr Sheikh welcomed the delegations from donor countries and organizations and representatives of other donor agencies for participating in the Forum.
Addressing Pakistan Development Forum (PDF), the Finance Minister described 18th Amendment and NFC Award as his government’s big achievements.
“We are holding the Forum in 2010, as the last PDF was held in 2007”, Dr. Abdul Hafeez said.
Punjab’s senior minister Sardar Zulfiqar Khosa said that recent flood had ravaged south Punjab, causing losses worth $3.20 billion. “No government is in a position to undertake reconstruction and rehabilitation work alone,” he said.
Khosa said Punjab needed 900 million dollars to establish model villages after floods; of them, 700 million dollars are needed for large model villages and $200 million for the smaller ones.
He further informed that the province is bettering taxing system of agricultural income, adding the property tax system improved. The Senior Minister of Punjab said his province has curtailed current expenditures by Rs3 billion.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s Governor Owais Ghani said his provinces needs Rs29 billions to rehabilitate flood-hit people.
Ishaq Dar of Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), Punjab Finanace Minister Tanveer Ashraf Kaira and Minister of State for Finance and Revenue Hina Rabbani Khar are at the meeting.
The Chief Ministers of the provinces will also brief the Forum about flood-spawned losses and subsequent rehabilitation. The participating donors would be apprised of Pakistan’s need worth $5 billion for rehabilitation after the flood.
Delegations from 30 countries and 264 representatives from donor countries, five major lending and aid institutions are participating in the meeting. US, United Kingdom and Japan have made sure minister-level participation. The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank and the Islamic Development Bank are also at the meetings.
Earlier talking, the Finance Minister Sheikh said, “High level local and international participation including US Special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Vice President of World Bank and ADB, UK Minister for International development and senior officials of the IMF are expected in the forum.”
Dr. Hafeez said further said that the main focus of the PDF is on the reforms agenda of Government in social, economic and government sectors, both in the short and medium term.
The PDF, he said is sometimes misunderstood as a pledging forum for donors.
However, he said it is actually an opportunity for the Government to chart out its future economic & social strategy and have a dialogue with the donors. The donors, as a result of this dialogue, often re-align their strategies to plan and deliver future economic assistance to Pakistan.