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    SAARC ministers to meet in Dhaka on Jan. 30

    KABUL (PAN): Minister of Finance Dr. Hazrat Omar Zakhilwal would attend the fifth meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) ministers in Bangladesh, an official said.

    Slated for January 30, the day-long meeting in Dhaka is aimed at further expanding regional cooperation in economic and financial sectors and setting out the benchmarks to establish a customs union.

    Seeking to ensure greater integration, harmonisation and standardisation of financial systems, finance ministers from member states are expected to discuss greater financial flows, investment and the global financial crisis.

    Ministry of Finance spokesman Aziz Shams said in a statement a new and imaginative credit mechanism, incentives to support regional business and customs cooperation would also figure at the meeting.

    “They will outline priority steps to be taken in each implementation phase of South Asian Economic Union and quantify potential gains from strengthened economic integration in the region,” the statement added.

    The ministers will issue guidelines to move forward project-based regional cooperation, the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) and implement fully the SAARC Preferential Trading Agreement (SAPTA).

    The sixth informal meeting of SAARC finance ministers is scheduled to be held in Manila on May 3, on the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank annual meeting.