ISLAMABAD: Government of Pakistan and World Bank here on Thursday signed financing agreement of $500 million IDA Development Policy Credit (DPC) for competitiveness and growth.

Tariq Bajwa, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, signed the agreement on behalf of Government of Pakistan while Anthony Cholst, Acting Country Director inked it on behalf of the World Bank.

Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar who witnessed the ceremony welcomed the signing of the agreement and said that the financial support provided by the World Bank was meant to improve the business environment and enhance fiscal management. It focuses on simplification and streamlining of the payment of taxes; improvement in governance and transparency of policies to attract private sector investment and remove entry barriers in the insurance sector.

In terms of enhancing fiscal management, the focus was on withdrawal of discriminatory concessions granted through SROs in the past; improving debt management and strengthening of social safety net programmes, the finance minister added.

He said that the ministry of finance and the World Bank team had been working together on the DPC for quite some time and most of the agreed reform measures had already been completed.

These reforms would enhance the competitiveness and promote ease of doing business in the country.

Anthony Cholst congratulated the government for making significant progress in stabilising the economy and initiating reforms for greater revenue mobilisation and private sector growth.

The World Bank board, which met on June 20, lauded Pakistan for pursuing a reform agenda and continuation of its support to the government.

The board members appreciated the progress made in the past three years by the government and highlighted the financial innovation presented by this operation through combining IDA credit and IBRD policy based guarantee.

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