DFID urges Pakistan to pursue indigenous programme of economic reforms

The logo of the Department for International Development (DFID)

ISLAMABAD: Underscoring the need for Pakistan to develop homegrown economic reform programme, UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) Chief Economist Dr Rachel Glennerster said on Friday that the country will need to widen its tax base, increase investment and competitiveness.

During the three-day visit, the visiting dignitary met with key government officials, stakeholders from the private sector and members of academia to understand the impact of DFID programmes on Pakistan’s economy and to discuss prospects of future growth and investment.

According to a press release of the British High Commission in Islamabad, technical assistance and support for economic reforms to improve the investment climate was discussed by Dr Rachel Glennerster during a visit to Islamabad.

She also met with Finance Minister Asad Umar to discuss economic priorities including tax, trade and competitiveness, and the business environment in Pakistan. She also stressed the UK’s commitment to support Pakistan’s vision for economic growth and structural reforms.

Dr Glennerster’s visit coincided with a senior team from British Airways which recently announced their return to Pakistan. British Airways has recognised the improved security situation and business environment and see the potential in the UK-Pakistan trade relations.

The DFID chief economist stated that UK is one of Pakistan’s closest partners and one of its strongest trading and investment allies with $2.8bn of trade between the two countries.

“DFID programmes in Pakistan support getting children into school, improving health and supporting communities, but we are also very committed to supporting the government’s drive to grow the economy and improve the investment climate. This will improve living standards and create jobs for younger people entering the market,” she said.

“To achieve this, it is important for Pakistan to develop a homegrown economic reform programme. Pakistan will need to widen its tax base and increase investment and competitiveness, which it is committed to doing. We have pledged our support to providing assistance to raise more tax revenue, improve the business environment and invest in a greener energy initiative,” Dr Rachel Glennerster added.

During her visit to Pakistan, the chief economist also met with the Chinese mission in Pakistan, where they discussed Chinese investments in Pakistan and expressed an interest in supporting the government in areas of mutual interest.