ISLAMABAD, March 29, 2014 —Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer of the World Bank today met with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss Pakistan’s ongoing economic reform program, including a stronger focus on private sector involvement and other poverty fighting measures.
During her one-day visit, Indrawati also met key cabinet members including the Federal Minister for Finance, Ishaq Dar, and the ministers of water and power, petroleum and natural resources.
Indrawati recognized that despite the difficult economic situation the government’s reforms are going into the right direction and are necessary to lead the country on a stable path to recovery.
“Pakistan is facing a set of very tough challenges. We see good progress in the pace and quality of the government’s action.”Indrawati said. “The increase in the country’s reserves is a good sign. But what is critical now is to stay focused on the implementation of the reform program and create fiscal space to sustain social protection programs that support the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
Successful reviews by the International Monetary Fund and the rapid implementation of initial reform actions are positive signs, Indrawati added, and the World Bank Group stands ready to help Pakistan through lending, private sector involvement and knowledge support. The use of US $1.7 billion from IDA, the World Bank’s fund for the poorest, is part of the Bank’s support to the country. Target areas will be policy reforms in the energy sector, revenue mobilization, governance, social sectors, and investment into hydropower. The World Bank’s engagement in Pakistan will continue to be guided by its principle of selectivity, operational policy, and areas of comparative advantage.
Indrawati also welcomed Pakistan's role in regional cooperation, for example on power connectivity with neighboring India, and the recently approved transformative power transmission project, Central Asia-South Asia (CASA1000).
The development partnership between the World Bank and Pakistan has entered its seventh decade. More recently, the World Bank's engagement in Pakistan was focused on supporting education outcomes, development of hydropower and strengthening social safety net systems for the poorest and most vulnerable people. The IFC, the Bank Group’s private lending arm, has significantly ramped up its program in Pakistan, especially in the energy sector by mobilizing large international investors to support low cost renewable power generation. It also supports improvements in the overall business environment and works on expanding access to finance for small businesses through capacity building and advisory services.