Tokyo, January 15, 2015 (PPI-OT): Finance Minister, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar called on Japanese Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Mr Taro Aso here on Thursday. Both the leaders discussed matters of mutual interest, including cooperation in the field of economy, trade and investment and agreed to increase economic cooperation between the two countries.
Finance Minister Dar reiterated government’s resolve to root out menace of extremism from the country and briefed Mr. Aso about successes in the operation against terrorists. Ishaq Dar highlighted the economic reforms undertaken by the government since June 2013 and expressed his satisfaction over the performance of the economy saying that “it had taken the right direction”.
He apprised Mr. Aso of the successful completion of five reviews by the IMF under the Extended Fund Facility Program and expressed optimism of completion of sixth review by February. He dilated upon some of the challenges still facing the economy including shortfall in electricity generation, requirements of rehabilitation of TDPs and countering the militants.
He informed Mr. Aso that there was considerable interest in electricity generation using coal and LNG and apprised that investment in energy sector in Pakistan afforded very good returns in dollar terms. He further stated that Mitsubishi had expressed interest in energy projects in Pakistan provided financing from Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) was made available. He opined that all friendly countries should participate in energy projects in Pakistan.
Briefing Mr. Aso about some of the areas where Pakistan would welcome Japanese assistance, Finance Minister suggested that JICA may consider financing infrastructure projects, particularly in the transport sector. JICA, he opined, should also participate in phase II of energy sector reform program with possibly increased funding, while the Japanese government could also assist in the rehabilitation of TDPs.
He also suggested that JBIC should study in-depth Pakistan’s improved economy, particularly in view of Mitsubishi’s interest in investing in Pakistan’s energy sector. He invited Mr. Aso to visit Pakistan, while also expressing the desire for a possible visit to Pakistan by the Japanese Prime Minister.
The Japanese Deputy Prime Minister assured that Japan would continue its cooperation with Pakistan. He briefed the Finance Minister about the steps taken by Japan over the past decade to counter the unique twin problems of recession and deflation.
He opined that democracy led to political stability which gave people confidence to make investments since they were assured of consistency in economic policies. This, he said, led to economic growth which was important for social stability.
Poverty, he opined, resulted in discontent and extremism. He expressed his happiness over increased stability in Pakistan and stated that with patience and steadfastness all problems could be overcome. The meeting was also attended by Chairman Board of Investment, Ambassador of Pakistan in Tokyo and other officials.
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