ISLAMABAD - Klaus Gerhaensser, Director General West-Asia Department Asian Development Bank, would visit Pakistan next week to understand the policies and plans of the new government so that ADB can prioritise its projects and programmes in line with the requirements of the government.

Werner E Liepach, Country Director Asian Development Bank, said this while talking to finance minister Senator Ishaq Dar. During the meeting, they held in depth discussions on the policies and measures being taken by the present government to bring the economy out of its present challenges and place it on the road to growth and development.

Werner E Liepach said that ADB is keen to work as development partner. He reaffirmed that ADB is keen to work closely with new Government in Pakistan in its efforts to regenerate the economy. ADB, he said, is ready to extend technical, advisory and financial support to the Government of Pakistan in translating its plans and concepts into financially viable projects and their efficient execution.  Werner expressed the hope that the new Government of Pakistan would increase its share in projects; ADB could thus assist in participating in a larger number and varied projects. Werner L. Liepach also briefed the Finance Minister on his recent meetings with the provincial governments and Execution Agencies to review the progress of ongoing projects as well as assess their future requirements.

Senator Ishaq Dar said that the present government is presently working on various initiatives to jump-start the economy and looks forward to ADB’s assistance in the construction of Diamer Basha Dam. Werner said that ADB supports the project and is willing to work with the Government of Pakistan in putting up a workable model for the implementation of the project. The ADB, Werner said, is ready to work with international financial institutions and the Government of Pakistan on energy, transport and infrastructure projects, he added.

INP adds: Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar has said that the value of rupee depreciated due to repayment of Rs342 billion loan but emphasized that the government was taking effective steps for economic stability, transparency and good governance.

In an interview, Dar hoped that the rupee would regain its value in the next few weeks due to the strategy of the government. The finance minister said that the government would also clear the remaining portion of circular debt in the next few weeks. He said it is the endeavour of the government to resolve the circular debt issue within July, 2013. He said an aggressive policy has been framed to ensure increase in revenue collection by 25% during the financial year. He said those involved in tax evasion would be brought into the tax net.

Ishaq Dar said it would be the utmost endeavour of the present government to increase tax to GDP ratio.

He said under the direction of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, a three year plan has been prepared to get the country out of economic challenges. He said it is a full pledged programme to put the economy back on track.

The finance minister said there was no harm in obtaining loan from the World Bank and IMF as Pakistan is their members. He said the government is acquiring loans to repay those obtained by the previous governments. He said the nation should not be perturbed over this development and assured that the economy would be put on the right direction.

He said the Economic Group formed under the direction of the Prime Minister is keeping a close watch on the situation and no agreement or action would be taken that would hurt the national economy.

Ishaq Dar said the government has held talks with Qatar for import of LNG but made it clear that no agreement has been reached to import it for 20 years. He said the government would enter into agreement for LNG after reviewing the market situation.