Pakistan to Launch $50 Million World Bank-Funded Project for Refugees

Pakistan to launch a project with the support of World Bank funding of $50 million for Strengthening Institutions for Refugee’s Administration (SIRA) in the country.

World Bank has agreed to provide assistance of $50 million i.e. $29.16 million as a loan and $20.84 million as a grant, according to official documents seen by ProPakistani.

The Strengthening Institutions for Refugee Administration (SIRA) Project concept was approved by the CCC/CDWP on 1st January 2020 at a total cost of US$50.0 million. However, a consensus among the Federal Government and ministries could not be reached for availing this funding which has resulted in the delay of the project for more than two years.

Scope of the Project

Pakistan qualified for the set criteria of the World Bank under the IDA-18 Regional Sub-Window for Refugees and Host Communities and agreed to allocate $336 Million for Pakistan. Projects amounting to $286 Million will be undertaken by the Provincial Planning and Development departments in coordination with the Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Federal component amounts to $50 Million which includes a performance-based amount of $40 Million which would be disbursed to GoP account No.1 on achievement of seven DLIs i.e. improved resolution of the complaints of refugee and refugee hosting communities through complaints handling mechanisms; strengthened mechanism for management of information across participating entities; improved performance of departments responsible for visa issuance; strengthened organizational capacity for managing refugees as per the government policy; Improved knowledge and skill of professional staff of organizations responsible for refugee management; Data on socio-economic characteristics of refugee and hosting communities; and improved implementation arrangement for visa policy.

The remaining amount of $10 million would be technical assistance (TA) and will be utilized by the Ministry of SAFRON/CCAR, provincial CAR offices, FIA, NADRA, and Passport Office for strengthening their capacity. The TA component of the project will improve organizational and institutional capacity for managing existing Afghan Refugees and host communities in Pakistan. The specific objectives of the TA Component are as follows:

  • Strengthening CARR, Provincial CARs, and other institutions/organizations through the provision of equipment, staff, and training for capacity building to manage the implementation of the government policy/ framework, and strengthening program management, accountability, and monitoring & evaluation.
  • Assistance to support design/ implementation of reforms -Improved management of registered, documented, and undocumented Afghans, maintenance of database, use of new visa regime, and regulated border systems. Support the concerned institutions/ departments to better facilitate Afghan refugees in cross-border movements.

The project envisages supporting voluntary repatriation, management of Afghan nationals through strict check-and-balance on passengers’ baggage, facilitating one-window operations at the country and regional levels, the introduction of Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs), the establishment of state-of-the-art border crossing complexes and ensuring security in the country through facilitation of immigrants between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Implementation and Arrangement Plan of The Project

An Operational Support Unit will be established in the office of the Chief Commissionerate for Afghan Refugees. In addition, regional offices/ units will be established at the Regional Office Islamabad, KP Commissionerate Afghan Refugees, Balochistan Office, Punjab Office, Sindh Office, Ministry of SAFRON, and NADRA Office. Thus, fresh hiring of 105 Persons will be conducted to run the project smoothly.

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