QUETTA: Balochistan Chief Minister Dr Abdul Malik Baloch has urged the World Bank and other donors to help improve the province’s socio-economic and development indicators through technical and financial assistance.
He was talking to Annette Dixon, Vice-President of World Bank for South Asia, during a meeting in Islamabad on Friday.
The chief minister informed the World Bank delegation that Balochistan was facing water scarcity. He invited the bank’s vice-president to visit the province for a better insight about issues emerging because of the water scarcity.
He said the government wanted to improve the law and order situation and security-related incidents had decreased by 40 per cent.
Besides, declaration of an education emergency has resulted in 23 per cent increase in the budget for the sector. An awareness campaign for maximum enrolment in schools, ensuring attendance of teachers and students and involvement of the National Testing Service in teachers’ appointment had also paid back, he said.
He also mentioned the setting up of new medical colleges and universities. The government wanted to wipe out corruption for good governance, he said.
He said recent studies by foreign and local analysts bore testament to the government’s efforts in curbing corruption.
Chief Secretary Saifullah Chattha praised the services of the World Bank in Balochistan.
Additional Chief Secretary (Development) Naseebullah Khan Bazai briefed the World Bank officials about the completed, ongoing and new projects. There were seven development projects under way worth Rs 109.7 million, whereas eight new projects were in the pipeline, he said.
Ms Dixon said that Balochistan was already in the sight of the Country Partnership Strategy formulated for Pakistan by the World Bank for the next four years.
She said the private sector could play a vital role in fisheries and mineralogy. “The World Bank can play a catalytic role in this regard, however, Balochistan should stabilise itself for development,” she said, adding that the province should increase its revenue and manage public finance in a more effective and efficient manner.
She said water management was important because of its connection to livelihood and economic growth.
World Bank Executive Director Nasir Mehmood Khosa, who is a former chief secretary of Balochistan, said the province had to be understood with a different perspective.
He said the theory of economic development for the private sector where economic rate of return and cost-benefit ratios were calculated might not be applied in case of Balochistan and the matter should be perceived beyond that.
He said fisheries, mining and livestock offered great opportunities and might be tackled tactfully through the private sector.
WB Country Director Rashid bin Masaud said the province had conducted the Balochistan Development Forum with the bank’s help and almost 600 stakeholders actively participated in it for two days.
Published in Dawn, April 4th, 2015