ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) disbursed record $2.4 billion in development assistance to Pakistan in 2019 including $1.8bn in programme lending and $634.3 million in project lending.
According to its year-in-review document released on Friday, the ADB disbursed $1.8bn in policy-based loans including $1bn in immediate budget support to shore up the country’s public finances and $500m to improve trade competitiveness.
The bank also provided additional financing of $200m to help support the Benazir Income Support Programme — part of the government’s flagship ‘Ehsaas’ Poverty Alleviation Strategy aimed at reducing inequality and investing in economically disadvantaged people.
The ADB also approved a $235m loan for Sindh in 2019 to help develop a bus rapid transit (BRT) system with innovative energy and climate resilience features in Karachi – Pakistan’s largest and most-populated city. The bank also approved a $75m project to enhance secondary education in Sindh.
To help strengthen project readiness prior to approval, the ADB also approved project readiness financing totalling $17.3m in 2019 for the Cities Improvement Project in Khyber Pakhtunkwa and the Water Resources Project in Punjab.
In agriculture, the ADB approved a major change in scope of Trimmu and Panjnad barrages adding Islam Barrage by utilising surplus loan proceeds of $21m, and initiated work on $275m Jalalpur Irrigation Project.
The development bank approved a $5.1m grant for enhancing Punjab technology-based agriculture and marketing, market development and preparing Kurram Tangi Integrated Water Resources Development Project.
In the energy sector, the ADB maintained its strong presence with an ongoing portfolio of $2.2bn covering energy generation, transmission, distribution, energy efficiency, renewable energy development, and analytical tools and advisory assistance.
In 2019, the ADB committed a $300m policy-based loan that will help Pakistan address financial sustainability, governance, and energy infrastructure policy constraints.
The ADB’s ongoing portfolio in the transport sector totals $2.5bn and spans urban corridors, border crossing points, green-field motorways and expressways, and existing national and provincial highways. In 2019, the development bank also committed a $75m loan to widen and upgrade 42km of the busy Mardan–Swabi road in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The ADB successfully completed the flood emergency reconstruction and resilience project, under which 1,740 km of provincial highways and districts roads were rehabilitated and repaired in 20 flood affected districts of Punjab.
Another 204km of major roads were rehabilitated, and 75km of district roads were repaired in the three districts. About 800 hectares of landslide area was stabilised in the three northern districts using bio-engineering measures. The project also rehabilitated 90 per cent of flood protection infrastructure.
Published in Dawn, February 22nd, 2020