Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar Saturday hailed the Asian Development Bank’s (ADBs) report on recovery of Pakistan’s economy, and termed it “highly encouraging.” The Federal Minister welcomed the ADB’s Asian Development Outlook Supplement (December, 2020) which highlights improvement in mobility and economic activities in Asia and the Pacific Region despite the persistent challenge of COVID-19, said a press release issued by Ministry of Economic Affairs here. The ADB in its ADO Supplement, also revised growth projections for South Asia from -6.8% to -6.1% for the year 2020. While commending Pakistan’s performance, ADB said that Pakistan’s economy is recovering, particularly in the manufacturing and construction sectors, supported by the government emergency relief measures. The Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted that Pakistan’s economic performance is remarkable in the context of second wave of COVID-19 and persistent growth contraction worldwide. He said that with the pre-COVID improvements in macroeconomic fundamentals and strong policy response during the pandemic helped Pakistan save lives and livelihood of the people. “The economy is poised to pick up from where it was before the COVID-19 outbreak,” he said. As a result of government’s strong support for industrial sector, especially construction and textile, Large Scale Manufacturing (LSM) has expanded by 4.8 percent (y/y) in the first quarter of FY2020-21 against a contraction of 5.5% in the same quarter last year, Khusro said. He said the robust momentum of economic recovery is evident from growing production of cement, textile, automobile and home appliances in the first five-months of this fiscal year. This revival of industrial growth has also created huge employment opportunities and surpassed the pre-coronavirus level. Foreign Direct Investment has also witnessed 150% YoY increase in October 2020 from $126 million in October, 2019 to $317 million in October, 2020. During the first five-months of FY21, workers’ remittances have reached an unprecedented level of US$ 11.77 billion, 26.9% higher than the same period last year. This increase in external inflows reflects the confidence of international investors, business community and overseas Pakistanis on the successful policies of the present government. The Minister for Economic Affairs also appreciated the ADB for launching a $9 billion vaccine initiative under Asia Pacific Vaccine Access Facility (APVAX). Under this initiative, the member countries can access rapid financing facility from ADB for procurement and delivery of COVID-19 vaccine. APVAX, he said, will play a critical role in helping our developing members to overcome the corona pandemic and bring them back on a path of economic growth and sustainable development. Pakistan may access this emergency financing facility for vaccine procurement to the extent needed. The Minister termed ADB’s initiative remarkable and timely for combating the pandemic. Pasteurized milk: Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC) and private firm Shakeel and company have signed an agreement for initiating a joint venture to produce pasteurized milk. The initiative was aiming at to cater with the hygienic needs of dairy products on affordable prices to a common man in the country. In this regard, an agreement signing ceremony was held at PARC, which was also witnessed by Chairman PARC Dr Muhammd Azeem Khan, senior officials and management of both the organisations. Under the agreement, PARC in collaboration with Shakeel & Company would ensure the provision of pasteurized milk to local consumers on affordable prices. Chief Executive Officer PATCO, Dr Muhammad Amjad and Managing Partner Shakeel and Company Shakeel Ahmad signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides. Speaking on the occasion, Chairman PARC Dr Muhmmad Azeem Khan said that the objectives of the agreement was to promote livestock and dairy sectors by introducing modern value addition and marketing practices. The initiative would help in rapid expansion of agricultural business through proper marketing and promotion of our research and development products. He also mentioned that hygienic and high quality dairy and livestock products like yogurt, meat and fish of PARC are already in the reach of common masses. This agreement with Shakeel and Company will equip the parties with all required technical, scientific, financial and marketing assistance in provision of quality standard milk, he added. Addressing the ceremony, Shakeel Ahmed said that their company would ensure development and the availability of dairy products at suitable price to the consumers across the country.