WASHINGTON, Apr 26 (Agencies): The world economic outlook report for 2006 has praised Pakistan as a country "which has done well" in "sustaining major setbacks" like an unprecedented hike in oil prices and the October 8 earthquake.
The report, issued after the weekend spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, noted that in Pakistan "growth has remained robust despite headwinds from higher oil prices, devastating natural disasters, and the elimination of international textile trade quotas."
But, the report warned that during the current fiscal year, inflation has picked up, and urged "a further tightening of monetary conditions, supported by continued prudent fiscal policies" to curb inflation.
The report has urged policymakers in Pakistan "to include energy sector" in their priorities for structural reforms. Another South Asian country which dealt successfully with rising oil prices is Bangladesh, the report stated.
The report also included Pakistan and India among the countries where the current account has weakened during 2005, moving into deficit.
Meanwhile, report from Islamabad adds: Contradicting Pakistan's claims that India has a higher tariff regime, a World Bank report has said that Islamabad's tariffs were 10 per cent higher than those of India and has asked it to reduce the same through a unified trade liberalisation policy.
The Bank has also recommended elimination of the existing tariff exemptions and concession in the next two-three years with a firm announcement in advance and reduce import tariff from the existing 25 to 20 per cent, Daily Times yesterday quoted officials as saying.
In the report, the Bank has said that India has already lowered its normal maximum tariff rate to 15 per cent in the budget for the current fiscal and there are plans to further reduce it to 10 in the next fiscal year.
Pakistan has been charging that India's tariff and non-tariff structures were too high for its products to compete in Indian markets.
Besides holding talks to improve trade relations through the Composite Dialogue process, the two countries have formed a study group headed by the Commerce Secretaries of both the countries to look into Pakistan's stand.
The report titled 'Pakistan Growth and Export Competitiveness' is circulated among the ministries and divisions and will be handed over to the Ministry of Finance at the time of the meeting of Pakistan Development Forum scheduled in May at Islamabad by incorporating suggestions, the officials said.