Khusro Bakhtyar for expansion in Pak-EU trade ties

ISLAMABAD: Economic Affairs Minister Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Wednesday chaired a high-level ‘portfolio review meeting’ of the European Union-funded projects in Pakistan.

During the meeting, which was also attended by the EU ambassador, ongoing and pipeline projects in Pakistan, worth €493 million and €108 million, respectively, were reviewed.

The minister appreciated and thanked the humanitarian assistance provided by the EU during floods, support for temporarily dislocated persons, and most recently for Covid-19 pandemic.

He also appreciated the memorandum of understanding on a Multi-Indicative Program (MIP) 2014-2020 for Pakistan, amounting €618 million, which included development cooperation in areas of rural development, good governance, human rights, and rule of law in the country. He stressed the need to streamline SDGs objectives and European Consensus on Development 2017.

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The minister underlined the importance of opening up new bilateral priority areas in the sectors of agriculture, industrialisation, digitalization, and climate change for next MIP 2021-2027.

He said that Pakistan needed inclusive economic growth through the strengthening of SMEs in post-Covid scenario. He underscored the need for increasing ‘on-budget financing’, besides focusing on concrete projects rather than technical assistance and capacity building with greater government involvement.

The EAD secretary, while thanking the EU ambassador, urged to initiate the process of next joint meeting and formal consultations for MIP 2021-27 at the earliest.

The EU ambassador thanked the EAD for being upbeat and assured the ministry of all-out efforts for early commencement of JCM for MIP 2021-27.

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