UK pledges support for Pakistan’s growth
Britain will drive economic growth and investment in Pakistan by helping to create jobs, increase tax collection and cut through red tape to make it easier for small and growing enterprises to do business, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced.
The announcement came during a two-day visit to the UK by Pakistan’s Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, including a meeting with Prime Minister David Cameron yesterday.
The UK will also support a new approach to delivering health reform in Punjab, with technical assistance and funding through existing health programmes. This will include increasing immunisation coverage across the province, improving care for new born and maternal health and improving basic health units across the province.
In addition, the UK will continue to support work to provide vocational skills, jointly funding a programme providing skills training for 135,000 poor people, 40 per cent of them women, and promoting a competitive skills training market. Existing work is now being scaled-up to cover almost half of Punjab Province, with a focus on ten growth-oriented industrial sectors.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said: “Making it easier for small and growing businesses to get ahead and helping to create jobs will mean hundreds of thousands of people across Pakistan can improve their own prospects, support their families and send their children to school.
“Providing British experts to support a tax campaign and to build the Pakistan Government’s own expertise will mean Pakistan can increase its own tax base. That reduces the need for international aid funding and helps to lay the foundations for a more stable and self-sufficient Pakistan.”
New commitments from the UK include
· Support for over 200,000 small and growing businesses to help create more than 400,000 jobs, half of them for women and young people, and provide a boost to the economy of some £400million-worth of new manufacturing and services;
· Technical support and training to help banks work with small businesses to manage investment more effectively, and to help government reduce red tape and make it easier for small and growing enterprises to do business;
· The DFID-funded HMRC Developing Countries Tax and Customs Capacity Building Unit to provide expert advice to help Pakistan build its own capacity and implement reforms needed to increase tax take from nine per cent to 15 per cent of GDP by 2018.
· As well as expert support to help Pakistan’s Federal Board of Revenues design and implement a country-wide tax awareness campaign.