ISLAMABAD: Amid the government efforts to secure external flows to support balance of payments amid falling foreign exchange reserves and currency depreciation, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Thursday hinted at releasing additional funds of up to $2 billion to Pakistan before December this year.
The assurance came at a meeting of Minister of State for Finance Dr Aisha Ghous Pasha and the ADB’s Country Director in Islamabad Yong Ye and their respective teams. The meeting discussed “additional funding avenues for Pakistan including ADB’s programme loans and countercyclical support facility (CSF)” — a relatively new mechanism to help finance oil imports amid unprecedented global prices.
Briefing the minister on ADB’s overall portfolio and the country strategy, Mr Yong said the bank was devoted for providing the support for reform agenda of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) governance and regulations, women inclusive finance sector development and PPP frameworks.
“Moreover, ADB indicated the additional support of $2.5bn for the next fiscal year, from which $1.5-2bn can be available in the ongoing calendar year,” said an official statement.
An official said these funds would be in additional to an ongoing pipeline of funds under the five-year Country Partnership Strategy (CPS 2021-25) under which the Manila-based lending agency had promised up to $10bn financing depending on project preparedness, reform implementation strategy and ability of the relevant agencies to meet conditions and process loan approvals.
However, the CSF could be arranged for quick disbursements to help the country mitigate the adverse economic impacts of higher international commodity prices, particularly oil besides the global economic recession following the Covid-19 and lately Russia-Ukraine war. The two sides would remain engaged over the next couple of weeks to crystallize the programme, the sources said.
An official statement said Dr Pasha acknowledged that ADB had always assisted in pursuance of reform and development agenda in the country and the contribution this all-weather and trusted partnership made in supporting Pakistan in the areas of energy, education, and fiscal and debt management.
“Currently Pakistan is facing various fiscal and monetary challenges but the present government is keenly working on various structural reform measures to bring back the economy on an inclusive and sustainable growth path”, she was quoted as telling Mr Yong Ye.
Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2022