USAID and Asian Development Bank Delegations Meet Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad, July 25 2013 (PPI-OT): The delegations of USAID and Asian Development Bank met Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms here today. Delegation of USAID was led by Mr Gregory Gottlieb Mission Director USAID while the ADB delegation was led by Klaus Gerheausser, Director General (Central Asia Region) Asian Development Bank.

Mr Gottlieb appreciated the vision of Deputy Chairman for Planning Commission in general for revamping it and for the country in the form of vision 2025 and the five year plan.

The Minister said that Pakistan and US enjoy a long history of close ties but there was still lot of room for progress and improvement. He appreciated steps taken by the Congress to approve feasibility study of Diamer Basha Dam.

He added that Pakistan is facing water scarcity with few water storage facilities. This is a big break through not only in energy sector but also for our agriculture, the Minister said. Building of this reservoir will compensate for depleted capacity of Mangla and Tarbela Dams because of silting process. Neglect of the past by previous regimes led us to the verge of food insecurity, he said. We greatly appreciate US Cooperation in building water reservoirs for irrigation purpose and for hydropower generation.

The Minister said that we have two priority areas right now which are Vision 2025 and Five Year Plan 2013-18. He further told that he has seven guiding principles to achieve a milestone of developed Pakistan. Energy is top priority, second one is shift of patterns of growth of economy from loans and aids to export and resource mobilization.

Third is transforming production sector from commodity to value addition. there are opportunities of higher value addition in agricultural products and same goes with industry. Fourth pillar of economic vision is infrastructure development. Fifth one is promoting the role of private sector. Sixth is strengthening democratic government and bringing institutional reforms. Seventh and last pillar of our strategy is building social capital.

Mr. Gottlieb appreciated the ideas of the Minister and assured his full support for the development of Pakistan. He assured his interest in providing financial and technical support for food security of Pakistan and further proposed some ideas for improvement of livestock and agriculture sector of the country. He also pledged to continue cooperation in building water reservoirs and in energy sector.

In the other meeting held with the delegation of Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms (PDR) told that Pakistan has greatly benefitted from studies conducted by the help of ADB in 2010.

He told the Director General (Central Asian Region) ADB that they were transforming Planning Commission into a strategic think-tank which would serve an early warning system for the future needs of the growing population. Charter of the planning commission is also reorganized along with transforming its structure.

Federal Minister also showed his interest to host the proposed CAREC advanced research centre to be established in this region. Mr Gerheausser greatly appreciated the idea of developing economic corridors to integrate the region in order to promote trade. Mr. Ahsan also sought technical support from ADB in developing economic and trade corridors.

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