The government is expecting $2.5 billion from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for various development projects and programs government in the current year, sources revealed.
The government has budgeted $1.6 billion from the Bank for the current fiscal year. Shixin Chen, Vice President (Operations) of Asian Development Bank called on Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan here on Monday and discussed the ADB’s technical & financial assistance for Pakistan including ongoing portfolio and priority areas for future interventions.
Sources said that the government is expecting that ADB will enhance the disbursement for Pakistan in the current year. The country has already received $1.1 billion from the Bank in the current fiscal year so far, sources added.
At present, 37 ADB-funded development projects worth $7.9 billion are under implementation across the country in the energy, road & transport, agriculture, urban infrastructure, and the social sector. During the current fiscal year, ADB has disbursed $1.1 billion for various development projects and programs.
The Minister for Economic Affairs appreciated the ADB for their continued and enhanced financial assistance to the government of Pakistan. It was acknowledged that ADB has become the leading development partner of Pakistan in recent years. The Minister also acknowledged the ADB’s timely support for addressing health and socioeconomic challenges amid the COVID-19 pandemic. ADB has provided over $1.3 billion for COVID-19 response including social protection, vaccination, and budgetary support for fiscal stimulus.
The Minister further highlighted that through the National Coordination Committee on Foreign Funded Projects, EAD had significantly improved physical progress and disbursement against the ongoing projects by removing major bottlenecks including delays in land acquisition, right of way issues & hiring of project staff. The Minister further shared that Economic Affairs Division is going to implement a triad model i.e. physical progress verification by satellites, financial tracking, and use of Gantt Charts for efficient monitoring and smooth implementation of the projects.
The Minister, while appreciating the ADB’s continued support to Pakistan, assured the Vice President, ADB that the Government is committed to completing structural reforms in multiple areas. Both sides discussed new reform areas for ADB’s assistance including Domestic Resource Mobilization, Climate Change, and Public-Private Partnerships.
Domestic Resource Mobilization would help the government to create fiscal space through enhanced revenue collection and overcome the challenge of fiscal deficit. Furthermore, it was agreed to enhance investments in the road sector, agriculture, renewable energy, digital connectivity, vocational education, and the social sector.
Shixin Chen, Vice President, ADB acknowledged the government of Pakistan’s efforts for reforms in trade, energy, and capital markets. He also commended the government’s successful response against COVID -19 pandemic including the mass vaccination program, social protection, and relief measures for the general public, agriculture & industry.
He further appreciated that ADB’s disbursement for development projects has increased by 25 percent in a year due to continuous efforts and follow-ups of EAD & ADB Teams. In this regard, he commended the Minister for Economic Affairs for his proactive approach and dedicated efforts for reviewing the progress of projects on regular basis.
Omar Ayub Khan, and Shixin Chen, agreed to continue discussing ways to further deepen ADB and Pakistan’s development partnership. Nianshan Zhang, Deputy Director-General, Aiming Zhou, Senior Adviser, Yong Ye, Country Director, Asad Aleem, Deputy Country Director & Nasruminallah Mian, Senior Project Officer of ADB also joined the meeting.
The Vice President of the Asian Development Bank also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. Prime Minister appreciated ADB for its support to the Government in the socio-economic development of Pakistan. The Vice President of ADB appreciated the Government’s handling of the COVID 19 crisis and said that Pakistan’s economy has much better than many countries during the COVID crisis.
Vice President of Asian Development Bank assured the Prime Minister that the Bank would continue to support Pakistan in its endeavors to accelerate the growth of Pakistan’s economy.