Ishaq Dar aspires to realise SAEU dream soon
ISLAMABAD : Federal Finance Minister Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar expressed high hopes that the dream of establishing South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) would be soon materialized, which would ensure regional development while rooting out poverty and hunger from the region.
Ishaq Dar noted in his address at the inaugural session of the 8th Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers here on Friday that, “I am sure we will come up with concrete recommendations on steps to ultimate goal of the SAEU that would provide a viable way of getting the peoples of our region out of poverty and would give a new push to the multifaceted regional cooperation.”
A range of mechanisms have supplemented the overall cooperation in economic and financial sectors among the Member States to achieve SAEU in a phased and planned manner through a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market, and a Common Economic and Monetary Union. He added, “There is a need for a focused attention on shared goals by the national governments to realise the dream of the South Asian Economic Union.”
The minister said that the unfinished agenda including the SAARC Limited Multilateral Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment, Harmonization of Customs Procedures and Documentation, establishment of SAARC Development Bank, proposal to allow for greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term investment and recommendations of SAARC-ADB Study on Regional Economic Integration (Phase-II), had been delaying the process of intra-regional and inter-regional integration of the South Asian region. All these subjects needed special attention of this forum to move ahead in consonance with the global economic and financial architecture.
The minister was of the view that South Asia was a region with countless opportunities and vast potential to meet the growth requirements of its peoples, adding to the assets of the region, which include vast fertile lands, deep seas, large mountain ranges and high peaks. The region needed joint strategies and convergence of commonalities among the SAARC member states to exploit its resources for the economic and social uplift of our peoples, he added.
Dar believed that since its inception, SAARC had made considerable progress in the areas related to economic and social uplift of the peoples of the South Asian region. The concerted and time-bound efforts at SAARC platform were the only way to get the masses of the South Asian region out of the clutches of poverty and hunger, he opined.
Keeping in view the interests of the Least Developed, Landlocked, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in SAARC, the progress on all the pending areas was imperative. SAARC Secretary General, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, spoke on the occasion and added that holding of the 8th SAARC Finance Ministers’ conference was the realisation of the commitment to work for the development of the region. He was of the view that the regional integration had great potential to offer opportunities for the collective uplift of the peoples of the region.
Source : Online