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Govt committed to implementing structural reforms: Hammad Azhar

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

The minister made these remarks in a virtual meeting with World Bank Group Vice President South Asia Region Hartwig Schafer. The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub Khan, SAPM on Power Tabish Gauhar, Governor State Bank of Pakistan Reza Baqir, and other senior officials.

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.

He also stressed that harmonisation of General Sales Tax was a priority area for the government, adding that the federal and provincial tax authorities were working out procedures for smooth implementation.

He expressed firm resolve of the government in implementing reforms under ongoing World Bank projects and thanked the Vice President for their continued guidance and collaboration.

Meanwhile, the Federal Minister for Energy and SAPM on Power outlined the steps being taken to streamline the power sector, improving service delivery and serving the larger interest of electricity consumers. They emphasised that the government was fully committed to make power sector dynamic and more sustainable.

Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar lauded the World Bank’s IDA financing for the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection (CRISP) and other projects on the occasion.

The World Bank Vice President appreciated the government’s relief initiatives to curtail the impact of COVID-19 pandemic effectively. He reiterated the World Bank’s continuous support to the government of Pakistan during testing times.

The World Bank also acknowledged that a lot of progress has been made on implementation of structural reforms in various sectors. There is a need to keep up the momentum once the health crisis abates, he added.