Thursday Apr 11, 2019
WASHINGTON: A delegation of Pakistani officials led by Finance Minister Asad Umar held meetings with high-level officials of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington on Wednesday on the sidelines of the annual Spring Meetings.
The Pakistani delegation comprises State Bank Governor Tariq Bajwa, Finance Secretary Younas Dagha, and Economic Affairs Secretary Noor Ahmed, among others. The delegation reached the US capital on Tuesday evening and is expected to stay for two days.
The delegation discussed various economic and development projects with the World Bank President David Malpass, IMF Executive Director Christine Lagarde, and IMF Deputy Managing Director Tao Zhang, according to embassy officials. The finance minister is expected to further deliberate on the terms of a multi-year support funding from the IMF.
During the meeting, Malpass appreciated Pakistan's efforts for reforms and assured that World Bank will continue its assistance.
Umar also met with Hartwig Schafer, the vice president for South Asia at World Bank, and was scheduled to participate in a talk with the assistant secretary and acting assistant secretary of the US Treasury.
The finance minister met David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of IMF, as well and the two discussed the ongoing talks between Pakistan and the international lender.
Further, Umar chaired a meeting with the members of the US-Pakistan Council to explore investment opportunities and prospects in Pakistan. The business council expressed their strong interest in Pakistan's market and shared their future plans as well as issues where they needed support from the government.
Speaking to the business council, Umar said the present government is completely focused on improving the ease of doing business in Pakistan.
"Prime Minister Imran Khan is personally monitoring the reform process in this regard," he added.
Before leaving Islamabad, Umar had said the talks with the IMF for a funding package was in their final stages. Separately, the global financial organisation released its World Economic Outlook that projected Pakistan's growth prospects at around 2.5 percent by 2024.
While Pakistan has not yet finalised the terms and amount of funding, the IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice had told media outlets earlier this year that the country had already made a formal request for financial assistance.
"Where we stand is that IMF staff are continuing discussions with the Pakistani authorities, with our counterparts, toward reaching an understanding on policy priorities, on reforms to stabilize the economy and lay the foundations for sustainable and inclusive growth," Rice had said.