ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Wednesday termed the approval for a loan of US$700 million for Pakistan by the World Bank as a ‘historical achievement.’
He was speaking with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who called on him in his chamber at the National Assembly and apprised him on the World Bank's approval for financing the 4500 MW Dasu Hydro power project.
The prime minister said that about $600 million will be utilised for Dasu Hydro Power Project and $100 million for the Sindh Irrigation project.
Prime Minister Sharif congratulated Ishaq Dar and his team for this remarkable achievement and said “it shows the confidence of multilateral donors and foreign countries in the economy of Pakistan.”
He said the projects would reduce power shortages and help in better utilisation of water resources.
The finance minister said the World Bank's loans were “purely concessionary and cheap.”
“The repayment schedule is spread over a period of 25 years including five years grace period, with low interest and nominal administrative charge of two per cent annually. It will also help in the reduction of domestic debt,” Dar added.
Dar tells NA about allocating $588mn for Dasu Dam
Federal Minister Dar later told the National Assembly that the World Bank has allocated $588 million for the Dasu Dam by approving it unanimously.
The minister also said that the government has allocated Rs55 billion for the construction of the dam while there is no need to get a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from any neighbouring country in this regard.
Dar said that the government is trying to achieve its economic targets under the leadership of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif while it will complete these projects for the welfare of the people of Pakistan.
Sheikh Rashid slams budget
Commenting on the recent budget presented by the government in the National Assembly, Awami Muslim Leage (AML) MNA Sheikh Rashid Ahmed said that the government has failed to reduce the circular debt which is Rs400 billion while the inflation rate increase from five percent to eight percent during the one year period of the present government.
“For the first time, I did not read the budget documents due to the fake facts and figures of the government,” he said.
He added: “It looks like the government may fail to fulfill its promise to provide electricity during its five years tenure while the IPPs refused to increase the production of electricity due to unavailability of pending dues in this regard.”
Ahmed said that the government will not reduce the price of electricity due to the pressure of the International Monetary Fund.
Sheikh Rashid alleged that the government is appointing heads of the different departments without considering any merit while one man show continues in the country as yet.
The AML leader said that the government is unable to take any kind of decision while it should take the nation on board to start dialogue with militants or operation against the rebels.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) MNA Aijaz Hussain Jakhrani said that the government has failed to reduce the ongoing inflation rate.
“During the PPP tenure, the inflation was five percent which has increased up to eight percent as yet,” he said.
He further said that the budget is the true representative of the business class but the government has dedicated the recent budget to the poor people of the country.
“What kind of a pro-poor budget is this?” he questioned.
In defence of the government, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) MNA Omar Ayub said all the mega projects are being launched in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) where Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is in power.
He said the federal government is providing 56 per cent share to provinces under the NFC. The government has allocated Rs 20 billion for 188 projects of the higher education related to the provinces.
The PML-N MNA alleged that Imran Khan wants to get the position of ‘Opposition Leader’ in the Lower House.
“The provincial government of the PTI had failed to perform in KP,” he said.
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PTI MNA Shah Mehmood Qureshi said members should focus on the budget debate otherwise it would be a reciprocal exercise.
Members of different parties, including PPP MNA Ayaz Soomro, PPP MNA Shahida Rehmani, Pakhtunkhwa Milli Awami Party MNA Abdul Rahim Mandokhel and PML-N MNA Tahir Iqbal also commented on the recent budget to present their suggestions and show their reservations in this regard.