A high-level delegation of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) of the World Bank Group has confirmed that $1.2 billion will be provided to 47 companies in Pakistan.

In a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan, IFC Senior Vice President (Operations) Stephanie von Friedeburg appreciated Pakistan government for enhancing climate investment, improving ease of doing business ranking and achieving Universal Financial Access targets, according to a statement issued on Friday. She highlighted that IFC was supporting infrastructure, natural resources, manufacturing and agri-business in Pakistan.

IFC was also providing advisory services for enhancing finances, improving climate investment, adopting public-private partnership solutions and designing environmentally/ socially sustainable practices, she maintained.

On the occasion, the minister for economic affairs appreciated IFC’s commitment and continuous support to boost business activities in the country. Khan underlined that the government was taking extensive reform actions to improve the business environment and encourage private-sector led growth.

“Government is facilitating both domestic and foreign investors with various incentives and policy reforms including ease of doing business,” he remarked. The minister assured IFC of full support for enhancing its operations in Pakistan. Provision of basic services including education, healthcare, safe drinking water and sanitation were the top most priorities of the government, he maintained.

“The government is especially focusing on socio-economic uplift of the underprivileged class and remote areas of the country,” he said.

The minister highlighted that the government was encouraging innovative financing models to leverage private sector investment in infrastructure and social sector.

Meeting with G-B chief minister

In a separate meeting with Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, the minister for economic affairs discussed priority areas and ongoing development initiatives for the G-B region.

On the occasion, the two sides agreed to establish a state-of-the-art Technical Training University in G-B. The development of technical skills could contribute to structural transformation and economic growth by enhancing employability and competitiveness, said a statement.

In this regard, the Economic Affairs Division would explore foreign technical and financial support, whereas the G-B government would provide around 800-1,000 kanals of land for construction of the university, the statement added.

The government of G-B requested for upgrading the infrastructure in road and health sectors, improvement in power generation, transmission and distribution system.

Moreover, it requested the expansion of healthcare facilities and capacity building of the public sector, especially in governance, finance and revenue, local government, public health, police and disaster management. Development of an alternative road network was discussed for connectivity between Punjab and G-B through Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

This will not only reduce travel time and distance significantly but will also promote tourism and boost economic activities in the region.

The minister for economic affairs would visit G-B soon to discuss the development needs and priority areas in detail, it was learnt. It was also decided that the Economic Affairs Division would hold a Donors’ Conference with the bilateral and multilateral development partners at the beginning of next year to explore foreign technical and financial assistance for G-B.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2021.

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