Finance Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Tareen (R), in conversation with Analyst Dr. Peter Lavoy (L) at United States Institute of Peace.

Washington D.C, 15 October 2021 (TDI): Pakistan’s Federal Minister of Finance and Revenue, Shaukat Tareen, spoke at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). The conversation was titled “Pakistan’s Economic Future”.

The Finance Minister shed light on Pakistan’s economic development and its efforts to forge a geo-economic relationship with other countries, particularly the United States. He also talked about the crisis in Afghanistan and its regional implications.

Pakistan’s economic development

Speaking at the occasion, the Finance Minister stated the government is working to make Pakistan among the top economies in Asia and the world. He said despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan’s economy has rebounded from a negative .5% growth rate to a 4.5% growth rate in the last year. Due to considerate economic policies of the government, the expected growth rate for the current fiscal year is 5%.

He further added the government is undertaking several reforms to attract investment in the country. It is opening Special Economic Zones in various cities. Additionally, the government is focused on revamping the agriculture sector, industries, and housing sector He said there has been a remarkable improvement in ease of doing business in Pakistan.

The finance minister also stated Pakistan is open to investment from all countries. The Gwadar Seaport is located in a strategic location. Along with China, all other countries are encouraged to invest. Also, the government has introduced many programs to facilitate overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country.

Moreover, the Minister enunciated government is working to strengthen the socio-economic fabric of the country and to achieve targets of sustainable economic growth. It has adopted a bottom-up approach to uplift the marginalized people of the country. He informed that 60% of Pakistan’s population is comprised of young people. Considering this, the government has initiated several programs to create job opportunities in the country. It has introduced a package of four million to provide interest-free loans.

Pakistan and FATF Compliance

In addition, the Finance Minister termed Pakistan’s talks with International Monetary Fund (IMF) as ‘encouraging’. Sharing Pakistan’s progress on standards of Financial Action Task Force (FATF), he apprised that the country has completed 26 out of 27 conditions of FATF. He said if any other country would have done this, it would have been out of the Grey List. Pakistan is just on the list because of ulterior agendas of some countries.

Views on developments in Afghanistan

Reflecting on the developments in Afghanistan, the Finance Minister urged the international community to assist Afghanistan in coming out of the economic crisis. He further added the negative impacts of a humanitarian and economic crisis in Kabul will spill over to neighboring countries, especially Pakistan. An unstable Afghanistan is not only a threat to regional security but also international peace. Mr. Shaukat Tareen also stated Pakistan wants an inclusive government in Afghanistan like all other countries.

Economic relations with other countries

Moreover, the Minister reiterated Pakistan highly values its relations with the United States. He said both countries need to diversify their economic relations and collaborate for ensuring regional peace and stability.

Also, Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen asked the world to see Pakistan from economic spectrum rather than security spectrum. He said there has been a policy shift towards ‘economic security’ under the incumbent government. Keeping this view, Pakistan holds dear its economic relations with other countries.