Pakistan committed to structural reforms: Hammad tells WB

Federal minister says govt working to streamline power sector, harmonise general sales tax

ISLAMABAD: The government is fully committed to implementing structural reforms, protecting social spending and boosting social safety nets in order to protect the vulnerable segments of society, said Finance Minister Hammad Azhar.

The minister’s comments came during a virtual meeting with World Bank Group South Asia Region Vice President Hartwig Schafer on Tuesday.

In his remarks, the finance minister appreciated the pivotal role being played by the World Bank in strengthening governance and service delivery through institutional reforms in Pakistan over the years.

Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Power Tabish Gauhar, who were also present in the meeting, outlined the steps being taken to streamline the power sector, improve service delivery and serve the larger interest of electricity consumers.

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They emphasised that the government was fully committed to making the power sector dynamic and more sustainable.

The minister for economic affairs lauded the World Bank’s IDA financing for the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection (CRISP) and other projects.

Furthermore, the finance minister said that the harmonisation of general sales tax is a priority area of the government.

“The federal and provincial tax authorities are working out procedures for its smooth implementation,” he added.

The World Bank vice president appreciated the government’s relief initiatives to ease the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic effectively. Schafer reiterated the World Bank’s continuous support to the government of Pakistan during testing times.

The international financial institution also acknowledged that a lot of progress had been made on the implementation of structural reforms in various sectors.

“There is a need to keep up the momentum once the health crisis abates,” he added.

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