Pakistan asked to manage its financial affairs

ISLAMABAD — World Bank has advised Pakistan to manage its financial affairs to avoid more problems for the citizens particularly in the wake of rising international oil and food prices.

By A Correspondent

Published: Sun 1 Jun 2008, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 1:05 PM

Vice-President Praful Patel after spending five days in Pakistan said yesterday that tough essential reforms can ensure that high international food and oil prices do not derail Pakistan's poverty reduction and economic development progress.

"During my last trip to Pakistan two months ago I noted that the economic challenges did not constitute a crisis, but the economic picture for Pakistan was very serious," Patel said after interactions with various stakeholders.

Senior officials of the bank visited Islamabad to review the economic situation inherited by the PPP-led coalition government and suggest measures to steer the country out of economic crisis. Patel visit is the latest in a series by world leaders particularly US senators, who have been here to pursue their agendas.

The senior officials of the multinational donors agencies also seem to be keen to ensure their say in the new economic policies of the government.

A source in the finance ministry said that due to the cash flow problems to finance the soaring balance of payment, Pakistan would need assistance from the International Financial Institutions (IFIs). He said World Bank is attaching its loans with a string of conditionalities including removing of all subsidies including oil by making it very difficult for new government to go for it.

"We are trying to manage our balance of payment issue so not to go for the bitter pills. However, if fail to do so then we have no other option but to accept the donors dictations," the official said.

The source said as Pakistan has no formal arrangement with the IMF so the World Bank is also monitoring the fiscal and monetary policy of Pakistan as well. During the five day stay in Pakistan, Patel met with Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani and the government's economic team led by Federal Minister for Finance Syed Naveed Qamar to discuss the economy and safety nets to protect the poor as domestic prices are adjusted.

Patel offered World Bank support to build upon international best practice in responding to the current situation. During his visit Patel reconfirmed the World Bank's ongoing commitment to Pakistan.

He noted that despite uncertainty in the recent months the bank's programmes in Pakistan remain on track. He said that bank's technical assistance with targeting exercises on the social safety nets, capacity and institution building for water management, and electricity generation and distribution efforts will help Pakistan in meeting its development priorities.

"Over the last five years I have visited Pakistan very often and have always gone back impressed with the resilience of its people," said Patel.

More news from Business