World Bank urges Pakistan for joint efforts to unlock $2bn funds

WB Country Director Benhassine, Finance Minister Akhtar discuss progress on ongoing projects

A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund - World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. — Reuters
A participant stands near a logo of World Bank at the International Monetary Fund - World Bank Annual Meeting 2018 in Nusa Dua, Bali, Indonesia, October 12, 2018. — Reuters 

  • Disbursement of $2 billion possible after completion of deliverables.
  • Federal, provincial govts must work on WB's agreed-upon indicators.
  • Benhassine, Akhtar discuss WB's existing portfolio in Pakistan.

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has stressed the need for collaborative efforts to ensure the disbursement of $2 billion in programme and project loans to Pakistan during the current fiscal year, The News reported on Sunday.

The key condition to unlock the funds by the international financial institution is the successful realisation of deliverables by federal and provincial governments, as outlined in its agreed-upon indicators. Therefore, a failure to meet these prerequisites will obstruct the $2 billion disbursement.

The Economic Affairs Division (EAD) made an official announcement in this regard stating that the World Bank Country Director Najy Benhassine held a meeting with the interim Finance Minister Dr Shamshad Akhtar.

During their meeting, the two assessed the overall performance of the World Bank's ongoing portfolio in Pakistan. Various other options were explored to expand collaboration in priority areas, with the aim to stimulate economic growth within the country.

Dr Akhtar, while welcoming the World Bank team, reiterated that Pakistan values its development partnership with the bank. She appreciated the efforts of World Bank management, especially the country team in Islamabad, in the economic development of Pakistan.

Benhassine, while briefing the finance minister on the ongoing portfolio, indicated that the World Bank Management, in collaboration with Pakistan's Ministry of Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, and Privatisation, is making efforts to not only improve the implementation performance of the ongoing portfolio but also to maximise the volume of disbursement of foreign resources.

He indicated that the joint efforts are targeting disbursements of around $2 billion during the current financial year 2023-24.

The minister shared the reform agenda of the government and the ongoing efforts to stabilise the economy. She also informed that the Government of Pakistan is cognizant of the fact that implementation of reforms in the priority sectors, particularly in the energy sector, will allow Pakistan to unleash its growth potential, therefore introducing policy reforms in this sector will remain the prime focus of the government of Pakistan.

The country director briefed the minister on the progress under the RISE-II Development Policy Financing Programme, which has recently been negotiated by the World Bank with EAD.

The minister commended the immediate support of the World Bank during the 2022 floods. However, considering the enormous post-flood rehabilitation and reconstruction needs of the country, the minister asked the country director to extend World Bank support further to better cope with the emergency needs of the country.