World Bank Rates Progress on $200 Million Punjab Project As ‘Moderately Unsatisfactory’

The World Bank’s Punjab Human Capital Investment Project (PHCIP)’ worth $200 million made limited progress in the implementation of the components of social protection, education and health.

The Bank has rated the progress towards achievement of PDO and overall implementation progress as moderately unsatisfactory, while the overall project risk rating as substantial.

The Bank documents revealed that the project development objective was to increase the utilization of quality health services, and economic and social inclusion programs, among poor and vulnerable households in select districts in Punjab.

The project components included health services quality and utilization (cost $115 million), economic and social inclusion (cost $65 million), and efficiency and sustainability through social protection services delivery system and project management (cost $20 million).

The Project made limited progress in the implementation of the components of Social Protection, Education, and Health. Key activities in progress include the upgradation of healthcare facilities; renovation of ECE classrooms; beneficiary registration for the Health CCT and Economic Inclusion (EI) component; and cash and asset disbursement to the registered beneficiaries.

Overall disbursement and expenditure remain low due to delays in procurement, limited social mobilization, and challenges of timely payments to the beneficiaries.

Actions to expedite include completion of key procurements by March 15, 2023; improvement in the cash disbursements mechanism; and by the introduction of a predictable and enhanced monthly payment have been agreed with the Government of Punjab, documents noted.

The sponsoring agency of PHCIP is the government of Punjab through the World Bank -International Development Agency and in-kind counterpart funding. The signing, as well as the effective date of the project, is 18th May 2020, whereas the closing date of the loan agreement is 30th June 2025. The total cost of the approved project is $330 million where $200 million will be provided by World Bank and $130 million from counterpart funding.

The spread of the Punjab Human Capital Investment Project (PHCIP) is over 11 Districts of Punjab including Muzaffargarh, Bahawalpur, Rajanpur, DG Khan, Rahimyar Khan, Bahkkar, Mianwali, Bahawalnagar, Lodhran, Layyah, Khushab. The Implementing Partners of the projects are Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA), the Primary and Secondary Health Department (PSHD), Punjab School Education Department (SED). The gestation period of the project is from 2021 to 2025 and the lead agency for PHCIP is Punjab Social Protection Authority (PSPA).

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