Aug 30, Colombo: Finance ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries are meeting in the Sri Lankan capital today to discuss of the South Asian Region and poverty alleviation.
The Sixth SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting commenced Friday in Colombo with the participation of finance ministers of Nepal, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Afghanistan.
Prior to the meeting the finance ministers of SAARC countries called on the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa at the President's House Friday morning.
The group included Afghanistan Minister of Finance Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal, Afghanistan Deputy Minister of Finance Mohammad Mastoor, Bangladesh Minister of Finance Abudul Maal Muhith, Finance Minister of Bhutan Lyonpo Namgay Dorji, India State Minister of Finance Namo Narain Meena, Nepal Finance Minister Shanker Prasad Koirala, Pakistan Additional Secretary of Finance Shahid Mahmood , Governor and Chairman, Monitory Authority of Maldives Dr.Fazeel Najeeb and SAARC Secretary General Ahmed Saleem.
During the brief meeting, views were exchanged on matters of mutual interest and specific to some member countries.
The SAARC Finance Secretaries Meeting was held yesterday. The meetings were jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance and Planning, the SAARC Division of the Ministry of External Affairs and the Sri Lanka Convention Bureau.
The meeting takes into consideration the prevailing macro-economic developments, outlook of South Asia, achievement of Millennium Development Goals and to assess the investment climate, foreign capital inflows, financial sector reforms and other areas of cooperation.
A larger part of the agenda of the 6th meeting was revolving around promoting regional economic cooperation and integration of SAARC nations.
The meeting, commenced with an objective of finding out ways of increasing the long-term capital along with protecting the investment among the South Asian countries, is expected to review the progress reports that were committed by the SAARC nations during the fifth meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh and produce future strategies.
Among other issues discussed at the meeting were SAARC agreements on promotion and protection of regional investments, SAARC economies and impact of global economic trends on the South Asian Region, economic integration in the SAARC region towards South Asian Economic Union (SAEU), avoidance of double taxation, solution of existing tax issues, and enhancement of intra-customs cooperation.
Sri Lankan delegation submitted a paper on the way forward for further integration of SAARC region. Senior Minister of International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Governor of Central Bank Ajith Nivard Cabraal participated in the Ministers' meeting.
(Photos by Chandana Perera)