PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government launched second phase of multibillion rupees Accelerated Implementation Programme (AIP) to chart the course of development in the newly merged districts for the next three years.

The provincial government announced its most ambitious intervention plan at the Merged Areas Development Partners’ Summit, which was organised by planning and development department in Islamabad, said an official statement issued here on Monday.

Korean ambassador to Pakistan, diplomats from Japan, Germany, Canadian High Commission, representatives from European Union Delegation to Pakistan, United States Aid for International Development (USAID), Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), INL, KfW, Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, United Nations Development Programme attended the summit.

The statement said that provincial government wanted to be bolder in solving issues of the underdeveloped region adjacent to Afghanistan to bring it at par with the rest of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

KP Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra in his opening remarks described the journey and challenges the provincial government faced since the merger of former Fata with the province.

“KP has had little fiscal space but we still overcame the shortfalls in funding for MA with our own resources despite an annual shortfall of more than Rs70 billion. We are committed to MA for the long run, and will weather any financial or security challenges to make good on our promises,” he said.

Additional Chief Secretary Shahab Ali Shah gave a detailed presentation on AIP II, which had been designed with the input of the people of tribal districts and experts. The second phase of AIP would build on the gains in health, infrastructure, agriculture, education and other sectors already delivered on, he said.

The official said that provincial government was working on a mechanism to coordinate with the development partners in high-level meetings and technical working groups to ensure every cent of their donation made the most impact in the lives of the people of merged areas.

Knut Ostby, Resident Representative UNDP Pakistan, spoke via teleconference from Norway, and congratulated the government for the work done and progress made in tribal districts since their merger. He expressed the hope that the innovations, solutions lab and special emphasis programmes in AIP would continue to foster a culture of context-specific solutions that were data-driven.

KP Minister for Higher Education Kamran Bangash recalled how he implemented the provision of transport for students and started bachelor’s degree programmes in the merged districts.

Published in Dawn,June 7th, 2022

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