Floodwaters continue to inundate the areas around Sindh’s Manchhar Lake.—Umair Ali
Floodwaters continue to inundate the areas around Sindh’s Manchhar Lake.—Umair Ali

ISLAMABAD: As the cost of the flood protection plan goes up by almost 51 per cent even without its launch, Pakistan expects about $13 billion from international donor agencies and lending partners to finance nearly 80pc of the Resilient Recovery and Reconstruction Framework (3RF) over the next three years.

This is part of the estimated financing plan being finalised by the federal government in consultation with relevant ministries, agencies and provincial governments in line with post-disaster needs assessed by international aid and UN agencies. About $10bn of the funds are required, of which $7.9bn would be spent in Sindh and $2.2bn in Balochistan.

The government has worked out an overall funding requirement of about $40bn over 10 years. This would need to be arranged in the long term through a combination of international financing, redirection of allocations made for existing public sector development programme (PSDP) and public-private partnership.

The financing plan estimates about Rs3.6 trillion ($16.16bn), expecting $13bn (Rs2.9tr) from international development partners and about Rs730bn from local resources.

Flood protection plan cost goes up 51pc

Of the local resources, about Rs360bn each had to be arranged by the federal and provincial governments and non-governmental organisations, etc.

The key premise of the plan is the financing from climate justice after the global community, at the conclusion of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, announced that a fund would be set up to help countries fight climate change damages.

Based on these financing requirements and arrangements, a financing plan would also be shared with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) within a couple of days to facilitate policy-level talks on the ninth review of its ongoing programme that has been delayed for weeks.

The IMF had been seeking quarterly estimates of funds for the current fiscal year for flood rehabilitation.

Sources in the water ministry told Dawn that a key segment of the 3RF programme was the 10-year National Flood Protection Plan that was approved by the Council of Common Interests (CCI) in 2017 with an estimated cost of Rs332bn in two phases — including Rs177bn in the first phase spanning five years.

The plan’s estimated cost is now estimated to have gone beyond Rs500bn to cover structural measures like increasing the flood passing capacity, watershed management and reservoir constructions, besides improved flood-warning system and institutional reforms.

The foremost objectives of the framework in the medium term (the initial three years) are the restoration of jobs and livelihoods, recovery and reconstruction of critical assets, services and infrastructure and strengthening of governance and stakeholder capacity for reconstruction.

The overall estimate for rehabilitation has been put at $18bn, including $2.76bn for social infrastructure, $1.1bn for health and education, $800 million for physical infrastructure, $5bn for transport and infrastructure sector and about $4bn for agriculture and livestock areas. In addition, about $1.6bn is targeted for social protection and livelihood.

The Post-Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) — conducted jointly by the World Bank, Asian Development Bank, United Nations Development Programme and the European Union with the support of the Pakistan government — recently put the flood damage and loss estimates at over $30bn (around Rs6.5tr).

These leading international agencies have already warned of a substantial increase in poverty levels, widening fiscal and external account deficits amid political and economic instability.

Based on these estimates, Pakistan had called for relaxing the IMF conditions and demanded “climate justice” to invest in rehabilitation and climate adaptation efforts. The Fund has now asked the authorities to make such allocations as part of the current year’s budget to ensure macroeconomic policy objectives set forth under its $7bn programme.

The PDNA report had laid bare the inadequacy of Pakistani institutions and systems related to urban planning, water management, infrastructure maintenance, governance structures and risk management and reduction capacity and had noted that the devastating “one in a 1,000-year” flood had further exposed these weaknesses.

In a recent meeting, the National Assembly’s standing committee on finance disclosed that the federal and provincial disaster management agencies had operated in a vacuum of data about the actual needs of affected people and the provision of relief and rehabilitation support, although almost four months had passed since the devastating event.

Published in Dawn, November 25th, 2022

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