Differences exist on tariff issues on CASA-1000 project

*Finance minister says Kyrgyz, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan will resolve issues soon

ISLAMABAD: Despite making good progress on execution of Central Asia- South Asia (CASA-1000) project in many areas, differences exist on tariff issues between contracting states Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar during meeting with Philippe Le Houerou Vice President South Asia Region WB has informed he was trying to narrow down the differences on tariff issues amongst the participants and was hopeful the parties would be able to bridge the gap and make the CASA-1000 project workable.
The Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan are pursuing the development of electricity trading arrangements and the establishment of a CASA Regional Electricity Market (CASAREM).
Since 2005, they have intensified their internal cooperation and with a variety of International Financial Institutions (IFIs), including the World Bank (WB).
According to official statement, Houerou appreciating Pakistan government’s efforts in putting economy back on track applauded the resolve of the government towards resolving the economic issues being faced by the country.
He appreciated deft handling of tough issues and said the WB was looking forward working with the government of Pakistan according to its priorities especially those on energy and economy.
Dar thanked the WB team for its support and cooperation, acknowledging the joint efforts made the progress possible. He informed WB team Pakistan was ready for the third review of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and that the progress on various requirements by the IMF was on track.
Dar highlighted government’s priority areas of four E’s-economy, energy, extremism and education.
He briefed the attendees regarding efforts of the government improving regional connectivity and trade with its neighbours, mentioning in particular the meeting of the Joint Economic Commission with Afghanistan.
Philippe expressed satisfaction regarding narrowing down of tariff issues amongst CASA-1000 participants and asked Dar to keep the momentum going. He said the project was also good for Afghanistan.  He said he was heartened by the commitment of Pakistan government to regional integration.
The two sides discussed the WB flagship Income Support Programme. Dar shared the government was not only committed to continue with the programme but also keen to increase the size and number of families covered. The government is also going to increase its spending on overall social safety net by cutting on its expenditure on other heads. With the recent built up of reserves Pakistan is expected to become eligible for International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)’s loans, which would enable country to undertake major projects. Houerou appreciated Pakistan was likely to become eligible for IBRD loans and directed his team to work closely with the Pakistan in selecting major projects which could be financed under IBRD.

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