IDFC to involve Pakistan in regional fund

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ISLAMABAD: The Uni­ted States International Deve­l­opment Finance Corporation (IDFC) has shown interest to involve Pakistan in a regional fund to be set up for programmes in the Central Asian Republics (CARs).

It came from the IDFC CEO Adam Boehler during a meeting with Commerce Adviser Abdul Razak Dawood. Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Atif Riaz Bokhari and Secretary Commerce Muhammad Sualeh Ahmad Faruqi were also in attendance.

An official statement issued after the meeting said Boehler informed the adviser that they intend to start a regional fund for development in CARs, who have shown keen interest for involving Pakistan.

He added that IDFC has a $3 billion fund for immediate liquidity requirements of financial institutions in the aftermath of Covid-19 pandemic.

Earlier, giving an overview of Pakistan’s economic relationships with regional nations, Dawood said the country is already working closely with Afghanistan particularly on the development of transit trade as well as building long-term economic relationships.

According to Razak, the government is looking for stronger connectivity with CARs, which would include building not only roads but also the power infrastructure. The adviser underlined that Pakistan is a high-cost energy country and with better connectivity with CARs, it can lower these costs for the benefit of investors and businesses.

He further said that IDFC can play an instrumental role as an interlink among these regional countries for the achievement of mutual objectives.

Dawood while discussing different opportunities in Pakistan apprised the CEO of Public-Private Partnership mode, introduced by the government, in order to relieve some burden off the annual Public Sector Development Programme expenditure. He explained that there is a need for foreign direct investment as it brings along technology, improvement in productivity and employment opportunities for the locals.

The adviser further assured that Pakistan is looking for diversification in FDI as investors from all over the world, irrespective of their country of origin, are provided a level-playing field and equal support from the government. He also shared problems being faced by the businessmen here, amid a global pandemic, including liquidity issues and cancelation of export orders.

Speaking on specific areas where IDFC can support Pakistan, Bokhari talked about mortgage lending sector, where a joint venture with local businesses can be established to provide affordable housing solutions to the public.

He also talked about the development of a Science and Technology Industrial Park in Pakistan as well as investing in small and medium scale hydropower projects and stressed on equity, rather than direct loans, as the more sustainable mode.

Published in Dawn, July 2nd, 2020

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