ADB to give $10bn in five years for development projects

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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday said it planned to extend up to $10 billion indicative lending to Pakistan for various development projects and programmes during the next five years including $2.1bn disbursements during the current fiscal year.

The Manila-based lending agency said it had a series of country consultations to formulate a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), which will guide ADB’s engagement in the country from 2020 to 2024. The purpose of ADB’s 5-year CPS is to define priorities and to support Pakistan’s development goals. The new strategy will also complement efforts by other development partners.

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“ADB’s partnership strategy will be aligned with the government’s development vision and policies, and is expected to introduce new approaches to development financing in urban services, energy security, transport, agriculture and water resources, education, trade, and tourism,” said ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang.

“It will prioritise innovation, analytical support, public–private partnership, and the application of new technologies. ADB plans to provide about $2.1bn out of $3.4bn funds to support Pakistan’s reform and development programmes during 2019-20,” she said. In addition to public sector investments, ADB will continue to increase its private sector operations in Pakistan to stimulate growth and revitalise exports.

“ADB has planned to support Pakistan with indicative lending of up to $10bn for various development projects and programmes during the next five years,” the ADB said.

Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for the Petroleum Division, discussed the implementation of energy sector reforms. Secretary for the Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed, ADB Senior Adviser for Central and West Asia Muhammad Ehsan Khan, ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and ADB’s Director for Regional Cooperation and Operations Safdar Parvez also discussed challenges and the priorities that the country partnership strategy should address.

Representatives of the provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan outlined key features of their development and growth strategies.

“The new country partnership strategy is being formulated at an important juncture. ADB’s concessionary and result-oriented assistance will strengthen the government’s efforts to address fiscal imbalances through meaningful and robust reform programmes and development projects,” said Babar.

“The consultations today signify the enduring partnership between the government and the people of Pakistan and ADB, and ADB’s vital support to Pakistan in overcoming these development challenges.”

The new CPS will also support the roadmap for Pakistan’s economic linkages with its neighbouring countries, particularly through the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme.

Regulatory duties on imports, exchange restrictions to go

In the next stage, more detailed strategic consultation meetings will be held in the provinces with the local governments and other stakeholders including academia, civil society, the private sector, and other development partners.

Pakistan became a founding member of ADB in 1966 and since then has received $32bn in project assistance. The country has since been working with ADB to strengthen its key infrastructure, social services, and economic growth.

Published in Dawn, July 9th, 2019

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