FinMin Aurangzeb, Donald Lu discuss Pakistan's reform agenda in high-level meeting

Ambassador Donald Lu reaffirms Washington's commitment to bolster ties between the US and Pakistan.

By
Wajid Ali Syed
Assistant Secretary Donald Lu (left) and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst of US State Department meet Finance Minister Mohammad Aurangzeb at the World Bank headquarter in Washington on April 18, 2024. — X/@Financegovpk
Assistant Secretary Donald Lu (left) and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst of US State Department meet Finance Minister Mohammad Aurangzeb at the World Bank headquarter in Washington on April 18, 2024. — X/@Financegovpk
  • Lu reaffirms US's commitment to bolster ties with Pakistan.
  • Dignitaries explore broadening tax base, streamlining energy sector.
  • Privatisation also discussed in meeting held at World Bank HQ.

WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s reform agenda came under discussion during a high-level meeting between Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb and United States State Department Assistant Secretary Donald Lu.

The two dignitaries explored broadening tax base, energy sector streamlining, and privatisation during the huddle at the World Bank headquarters in Washington on Wednesday.

Ambassador Lu, flanked by State Department's Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Elizabeth Horst in the meeting, reaffirmed Washington's commitment to bolster ties between the US and Pakistan.

Aurangzeb, who is currently in Washington to hold negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a new bailout package and attend World Bank meetings, has also been conducting meetings with top officials in the US on the sidelines.

Aurangzeb and the US official focused on upgrading economic partnerships, with emphasis on alternate energy, agriculture, climate resilience and tech industry.

The Pakistani minister identified American investment opportunities in information technology, renewables, agriculture and minerals extraction.

He also pledged close collaboration with the US International Development Finance Corporation and Exim Bank for mutual development.

In a separate meeting, Scott Nathan, the US International Development Finance Corporation (USIDFC) chief, said Washington is invested in Pakistan — including in clean energy, financial inclusion, and flood relief.

Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb (left) meets USIDFC chief Scott Nathan alongside Pakistans Ambassador Masood Khan. — X/@DFC_CEO
Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb (left) meets USIDFC chief Scott Nathan alongside Pakistan's Ambassador Masood Khan. — X/@DFC_CEO

"... and we are eager to invest further", Nathan wrote in a post on X, formerly Twitter.

In his post, the USIDFC chief added that avenues for growing the portfolio between Pakistan and the US came under discussion in his meeting with Minister Aurangzeb and Pakistan's Ambassador Masood Khan.

The finance czar mulled over the prospects of widening USIDFC's investment in Islamabad and "amicable resolution of outstanding issues" in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the finance minister on Wednesday also held key meetings with various heads of various financial institutions and forums including the heads of World Bank and Asian Development Bank.

In his meeting with WB President Ajay Banga, Aurangzeb highlighted Pakistan's progress in the ongoing stand-by arrangement (SBA) with the IMF and the reforms undertaken by Islamabad with regards to taxation, energy and privatisation.

He also led the Pakistani delegation's meeting with Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Masatsugu Asakawa which saw the two sides discussing matters pertaining to further enhancing Islamabad's partnership with the ADB protecting the country's envelope of concessional financing and future project pipeline.