Abdul Hafeez Shaikh
Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh. — Photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: The World Bank has allocated $ 1.8 billion for Pakistan's development projects, mainly in the energy sector, in the current year, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said after holding a meeting with Vice President of the World Bank Isabel Guerrero.

Pakistan's ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman also attended the meeting, which took place during the IMF-World Bank annual spring gathering of economic leaders from around the world.

The World Bank has also expressed agreement to assist with financing for a multi-year Dasu dam, to be built in Kohistan area on the Indus river with a 1500 MW power generation capacity. The World Bank Board has already approved the power generation enhancement project.

“This is a big sign of confidence in Pakistan's ability to accomplish development for its people that the World Bank is allocating an unprecedented amount in one year,” Shaikh said.

The amount follows last year's $ 1.2 billion assistance, and will be spent on upgradation and completion of development projects in energy and water sectors as well as infrastructure, social and reforms programs.

The World Bank vice president was appreciative of Pakistan's economic performance in times of global economic and regional challenges, the finance minister told APP.

The World Bank leader expressed satisfaction with the measures Islamabad had taken to enhance revenue generation (which has increased by 25 per cent over the last nine months), the performance of the external sector, both exports and remittances and a four per cent GDP growth expected this year.

For his part, Dr Shaikh acknowledged the World Bank's sustained cooperation with Pakistan, calling the financial institution a reliable development partner of Pakistan.

He particularly thanked Vice President Isabel Guerrero's leadership and lauded the dedication of World Bank Pakistan country team headed by Executive Director Javed Talat.

The meeting was also attended by top Pakistani economic managers including Secretary Finance Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary Economic Affairs Division Dr Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem, Economic Minister at the Pakistani embassy in Washington Mohsin Mushtaq Chandana, Executive Director for Pakistan at the World Bank Talat Javed and Pakistan Director for IMF Saleem Sethi.