US, Pak holds dialogue on economic assistance, flood relief
Washington: The US and Pakistan held a
meeting of the Working Group on Economics and Finance to review the South Asian nation's economy, its reform efforts and the ongoing flood recovery programs.
Held under the US-Pakistan Strategic Dialogue, the
meeting yesterday was attended by the Federal Minister for
Finance Hafeez Shaikh, Deputy Secretary of State for
Management and Resources Thomas Nides, National Security Staff
Senior Director for International Economics David Lipton, and
Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Charles Collyns.
The two sides focused on how to strengthen foundations of
the economy to expand employment opportunities and move
towards self sufficiency and away from donor dependency.
According to the State Department, US recognised
measures Pakistan implemented in recent months to expand
revenue collection and control this year's fiscal deficit, and
encouraged the Pakistan government to continue efforts to
strengthen the sustainability of its fiscal framework over
time and to build broad consensus for these measures.
"Major structural reforms, including in the energy
sector, remain necessary to help create the conditions for
strong growth and employment creation," the State Department
said in a statement.
Updating the US side on positive developments in
Pakistan's economy, Shaikh presented Pakistan's growth
strategy intended to enable a sustained period of increased
Shaikh indicated that Pakistan plans to develop its
2011-12 budget, based on national consensus, with measures to
continue progress on sustainability and encourage
international investors and partners, the statement said.
Appreciating Pakistan's leadership for its initiative in
convening a broad ranging national "Energy Summit" to
encourage dialogue among all the stakeholders, US said
Pakistan needs to find the means to return the energy sector
to financial solvency, based on consensus and action across
different economic, societal and political stakeholders.
Both sides also agreed that closer consultations on
assistance priorities have helped achieve greater focus in US
assistance to energy, economic growth, stability, education
and health as key areas for Pakistan's future development.
The two delegations reviewed the status of US programs to
assist the recovery from last summer's floods in Pakistan.
Approximately USD 310 million is committed to support
recovery and rehabilitate small infrastructure. This includes
the provision of seeds and fertiliser last fall, and plans are
underway to repair roads, rebuild schools and rehabilitate
irrigation control systems, the statement added.
The US also confirmed its contribution of USD 190 million
to flood victims.
Both sides stressed their intent to work to overcome
obstacles to rapid implementation of those programs.