ISLAMABAD-Caretaker Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue & Economic Affairs Dr Shamshad Akhtar on Tuesday reported positive signs of economic recovery, expecting GDP growth between 2 to 2.5 percent in fiscal year 2024, up from 0.5 percent in fiscal year 2023. Dr. Shamshad Akhtar convened a meeting of the Donor Coordination Committee (DCC) at the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
The federal minister highlighted the steadfast and critical support of development partners in supporting Pakistan. Despite external factors impacting Pakistan’s economy, including tightening global financial conditions and rising commodity prices, the successful review of the IMF staff level agreement was a significant achievement. She emphasized government’s commitment to macroeconomic adjustment and welcomed ongoing support from development partners.
She stated that the government is actively pursuing reforms in fiscal consolidation, monetary policy, currency market sustainability, energy, business environment, and social safety nets. She acknowledged the challenges faced by vulnerable households due to fiscal belt tightening and highlighted the government’s commitment to addressing poverty and improving economic conditions.
Representatives from the World Bank, EU, ADB, USAID, UNDP, Germany, Japan, WFP, IsDB, IFAD, and others expressed congratulations on the successful IMF review. The development partners pledged continued support to the Government of Pakistan and acknowledged the importance of transparency, alignment with government priorities, and the need for timely disbursement of committed support.
The minister expressed gratitude for the support received and emphasized the need for cooperation to track off-budget support. Drawing attention to the devastating floods in Sindh and Balochistan, she emphasized the critical need for swift and efficient transactions, prioritizing the timely disbursement of committed support to effectively address these challenges.
As the government prepares for the upcoming CoP-28, the chair called for efforts to optimize the capital of Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) and increase lending headroom. The appeal for debt for nature and debt for social development swaps was reiterated, signalling a commitment to meeting climate finance targets.
Present at the meeting were distinguished ambassadors from Italy, Japan, and Kuwait to Pakistan. Notable international donor agencies in attendance comprised the World Bank, ADB, AFD, USAID, UNDP, JICA, TIKA, WFP, KOICA, FCDO, UNICEF, KfW, and IsDB. Diplomatic representation extended from the Embassies of the United States of America, Republic of Korea, France, Denmark, and People’s Republic of China. The gathering also welcomed key figures including the Head of Development Cooperation from the European Union (EU), the Head of Cooperation and Counsellor from the Canadian High Commission, the United Nations Resident Coordinator, and the Deputy High Commissioner from the Australian High Commission. Notably, senior officials from the Ministry of Economic Affairs, including the Secretary, Additional Secretaries, and all Joint Secretaries, were also present, contributing to the comprehensive and diverse participation in the meeting.
The meeting concluded with a commitment from development partners to continue dialogue and cooperation. Meanwhile, the Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, and Economic Affairs, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, convened a meeting on November 21, 2023, at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad to review the federal portfolio of projects funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Bank (WB).
In her opening remarks, the minister underscored the critical role these projects play in socioeconomic development, offering access to job markets and fostering economic mobility to lift people out of poverty. During the meeting, the minister outlined the purpose of the portfolio review, emphasizing its objective to address implementation bottlenecks and meet disbursement targets for the current fiscal year. The minister provided insights into the background and purpose of the meeting, shedding light on both successful and problematic projects. She highlighted initiatives such as infrastructure restoration post the 2022 floods, border crossing point improvements, digital payments accessibility, housing finance, tax base broadening, adaptive social protection, and higher education sector enhancement.
Expressing concern over project delays, particularly those critically delayed, the minister pledged to bring these issues to the attention of the Prime Minister’s Office and provincial governments for their support in expediting project completion. She also appealed to donors for expertise and technical assistance to ensure timely implementation for the benefit of Pakistan’s socio-economic development.
The Minister for Economic Affairs echoed the urgency of addressing problematic projects and stressed the need for clear deliverables with timelines to prevent time and cost overruns. The meeting was attended by the senior officials from the relevant ministries, project directors, and representatives from the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank.