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Economic reforms plan ready: Shaikh

2-day Pak Development Forum starts today
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan would present to the international community its economic reform and stabilisation plans at the Pakistan Development Forum meeting at Islamabad over the weekend, a top US official said. The two-day Pakistan Development Forum (PDF) will begin here today (Sunday) with an agenda of focusing and sharing with the participants and development.

“We are holding the Forum in 2010, as the last PDF was held in 2007″, Minister for Finance and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said.
He said that the Forum would provide opportunity to have comprehensive dialogue with our development partners on government’s strategic direction, priorities and policies.
Shaikh said that deliberations of the PDF influence forthcoming the country Partnership Programs/Strategies of the Donors adding that in addition, feedback from the development community facilitates alignment of government policy with international best practices.
He said that the event is particularly significant this year in view of the devastation caused by the floods and the consequential economic fallout.
“High level local and international participation including US Special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke, Vice President of World Bank and ADB , UK Minister for International development and senior officials of the IMF are expected in the forum”, he remarked.
He said that to make the forum more representative the Chief Ministers of the provinces and civil society organizations including Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs) would also participate and share the development strategies in their respective provinces.

Shaikh further said that the main focus of the PDF is on the reforms agenda of Government in social, economic and government sectors, both in the short and medium term.
The PDF, he said is sometimes misunderstood as a pledging forum for donors.
However, he said it is actually an opportunity for the Government to chart out its future economic & social strategy and have a dialogue with the donors. The donors, as a result of this dialogue, often re-align their strategies to plan and deliver future economic assistance to Pakistan.
The Minister said that the Forum would also give an opportunity to our leading private sector entrepreneurs to interact with the donor community.
This form will also provide a platform to the local entities, INGOs/NGOs to participate in the dialogue and share their experiences and perspective on current development issues.
Delegates from 30 countries and 5 organizations are expected to attend PDF 2010. 264 donor representatives from overseas or their local missions have confirmed participation, he added.
“The Special US Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke would attend the Forum meeting being hosted by Pakistan,” State Department spokesman P J Crowley told reporters Saturday.
Holbrooke, who is in Germany, participated in the international forum on international security architecture and over the weekend will be moving to Islamabad for the Pakistan Development Forum.
This will be follow-on to the recent Friends of Democratic Pakistan meeting in Brussels, two UN-hosted meetings and the US-Pakistan strategic dialogue here in Washington, Crowley said. “It will be an opportunity for Pakistan to present its economic reform and stabilization plans to the international community. There will be a focus on things like energy reform, tax reform and fiscal consolidation,” he said.
During the Forum meeting US is expected to make announcement for more American aid to Pakistan.
This is the first high-level visit of a top US official to Pakistan after President Barack Obama’s recent India visit. -Agencies


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