Asian Bank promises support for resource mobilisation

Published March 15, 2022
Asian Development Bank Vice President Shixin Chen calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad on Monday. — PID
Asian Development Bank Vice President Shixin Chen calls on Prime Minister Imran Khan at Islamabad on Monday. — PID

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has promised to provide fiscal and technical support to Pakistan in new reform areas like a public-private partnership, domestic resource mobilisation and climate change.

In its first leg of engagements, an ADB delegation led by Vice President Shixin Chen and comprising country director Yong Ye had a series of meetings on Monday with Pakistan authorities including Prime Minister Imran Khan, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin and Economic Affairs Minister Omar Ayub Khan.

The delegation would be visiting provinces over the next couple of days to review the existing portfolio of projects and programmes and brainstorm for future financing.

“Both sides discussed new reform areas for ADB’s assistance including domestic resource mobilisation, climate change and public-private partnerships,” said a statement issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs (MEA) after the delegation met Omar Ayub Khan.

Agrees more investments in road, agriculture, renewable energy

Domestic resource mobilisation would help the government to create fiscal space through enhanced revenue collection and overcome the challenge of fiscal deficit. Furthermore, it was also “agreed to enhance investments in the road sector, agriculture, renewable energy, digital connectivity, vocational education and social sector”, the MEA said.

The ADB team led by Mr Chen also called on Prime Minister Imran Khan to assure that the Manila-based lending agency would continue to support Pakistan to acce­lerate economic growth. He also “appreciated the government’s handling of the Covid crisis,” said the Prime Minister’s Office, adding that Pakistan’s economy was much better than many countries during the pandemic.

The prime minister appreciated the bank for its support to Pakistan in socio-economic development.

At present, 37 ADB-funded projects worth $7.9 bn are under implementation. During the current fiscal year, ADB disbursed $1.1bn whereas seven new projects amounting to $2bn had been signed. ADB has provided over $1.3bn for Covid response including social protection, vaccination and budgetary support for fiscal stimulus.

Mr Omar deliberated on Pakistan’s development priorities and expected the ADB to also support road networks, digital connectivity, technical education, climate change and domestic resource mobilisation. It was noted during the review that ADB with its continued and enhanced financial assistance had become the leading development partner in recent years.

Mr Chen noted reforms in trade, energy and capital markets leading to an increase in ADB’s disbursement for development projects by 25pc in a year.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin also thanked the ADB for always being a source of support in pursuing reform agenda and implementing various development projects in Pakistan. He assured the delegation that Pakistan was committed to introducing reforms in various sectors in the face of various challenges to address the long outstanding structural issues and to attain sustainable and inclusive growth.

Published in Dawn, March 15th, 2022

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