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PARIS: The World Bank announced today [May 20] that following today’s meeting in Paris the members of the Consortium of Aid to Pakistan “accepted” that in the coming year Pakistan could effectively use external aid on suitable terms from the Consortium members totalling 500 million dollars. It was also agreed that it would be desirable that about half of this amount should be provided in the form of non-project assistance.

It was agreed that the terms on which aid is promised should take more fully into account than in the past Pakistan’s ability to reduce external debt. Some members indicated a move in this direction and it was decided that this question should be studied further by the Consortium.

The World Bank communique added that the “Consortium members commended Pakistan’s performance in the face of difficult problems of economic management and pointed out that despite recent disturbances the total output had increased by nearly six per cent and agricultural production by about five per cent. Exports were up by nearly 10 per cent, and industrial production by more, than eight per cent.” The Consor­tium members, the communique, said, were interested in the measures and policy changes envisaged in preparing the annual planning 1969-70 and the Fourth Five-Year Plan. — Agency

Our Chief Overseas Correspondent adds: In contrast with the Consortium’s meeting some time ago on India’s indebtedness... Pakistan’s strategy is to keep annual debt repayments below 20 per cent of export earnings.

Published in Dawn, May 21st, 2019