Friday, September 23, 2022

Pakistan urges WB to shift $2b funding to flood-affected areas

Islamabad also requests WB to explore possibilities of additional funding for reconstruction of flood-hit areas

The logo of the World Bank. — AFP/File
The logo of the World Bank. — AFP/File

  • Pakistan seeks repurposing of funds from World Bank after deadly floods.
  • It asks WB to explore possibilities of additional funding for flood-hit areas.
  • WB has indicated repurposing $850 million in addition to $350 million.

ISLAMABAD: In light of the deadly floods in the country, Pakistan has asked the World Bank to divert $1.5 billion to $2 billion in funding from slow-moving projects to areas where the deluge has caused devastation under the repurpose programme, The News reported Friday.

The Shehbaz Sharif-led government also requested the international donor to explore possibilities for additional funding for the reconstruction of flood-hit areas.

So far, the WB has indicated repurposing $850 million in addition to $350 million already committed by the bank to divert towards flood-hit areas.

When contacted, Minister of State for Finance Aisha Ghaus Pasha said Thursday the government had asked the WB to explore possibilities to divert resources of $2 billion from slow-moving projects to flood-affected areas.

She said the WB would work out details and then inform Islamabad about its decision on repurposing funds. Pasha said Pakistan also requested the bank to explore additional funding as well, keeping in view the medium to long-term requirements of reconstruction purposes.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Miftah Ismail held a virtual meeting with Vice President World Bank Martin Raiser along with Country Director World Bank Najy Benhassine on Thursday.

Pasha, senior officers from the Finance Division, and the World Bank also attended the meeting.

The finance minister welcomed the delegation to Pakistan and thanked the entire team for their continuous assistance. He apprised the delegation of the devastating impacts of floods.

It was shared that one-third of the country was facing floods and a number of crops, especially wheat and cotton, had been severely hit. Such loss would have huge economic repercussions on the economic stability of the country.

Meanwhile, sources told The News there was also a possibility to ask the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for additional funding.