ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar witnessed the signing ceremony of seven project agreements worth US$ 1,336 million including a grant of US$ 128 million with the World Bank at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad on Friday.
The Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad Noor Ahmed signed the Financing Agreements on behalf of the government of Pakistan while representatives of governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan signed their respective project agreements online.
This financing will support the government’s initiatives in Social Protection, Disaster & Climate Risk Management, Improving Infrastructure for Resilience, Agriculture & Food Security, Human Capital Development and Governance Sectors.
On the occasion, the Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar thanked the World Bank Country Management for extending their continuous support to the Government of Pakistan in achieving sustainable economic development in the country.
The minister highlighted that this continued and enhanced support shows the confidence of international financial institution and development partners on the progress and reforms being taken by the present government.
Khusro Bakhtiar reiterated the commitment of the federal government to extend all possible support to the provincial governments to address the financing needs necessary to overcome the development issues.
During the ceremony, the government of Pakistan and the World Bank signed the following seven project agreements:
i) Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Program (CRISP) – US$ 600 million: The objective of the program is to support the development of more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to future crisis-resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country. The program is focused on the key initiatives being undertaken by Benazir Income Support Program (BISP) under the Ehaas Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) programs, namely Kafaalat, Waseela-e-Taleem, and Nashonuma. The financial inclusion and informal worker support initiatives of Ehsaas have also been included in the program.
ii) Locust Emergency and Food Security Project – US$200 million: The Project, through a strengthened and better coordinated federal-provincial government system, will introduce and implement a set of customized activities, such as conducting locust surveillance and controlling operations, rehabilitating livelihoods of affected rural communities and farmers, strengthening and operating the Food Security & Nutrition Information System, emphasizing climate smart agriculture measures and women’s participation, to effectively address the desert locust outbreak and to reduce vulnerability to climate change in the long term.
iii) Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project – US$ 200 million: The objective of the project is to improve availability, utilization, and quality of primary healthcare services and elementary education services in four districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province that have been hosting refugees i.e. Peshawar, Nowshera Haripur, and Swabi.
iv) Sindh Resilience Project – US$ 200 million: The objective of the project is to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters and public health emergencies. The project will support the establishment of the Sindh Emergency Service, including the development of six divisional headquarters operational facilities, provision of equipment, and training of personnel. The project will also support the construction of 35 small rainwater-fed recharge dams in drought-prone regions of Sindh including Karachi, Jamshoro, Thatta, Dadu, and Nagarparker in Tharparkar districts.
v) Balochistan Livelihood & Entrepreneurship and Balochistan Human Capital Investment Projects – US$ 86 million: These projects aim to promote employment opportunities for rural communities; achieve sustainability of enterprises and improve utilization of quality health and education services in various districts of Balochistan.
vi) Supporting Institutional Interventions for Management of Refugees Project – US$ 50.0 million: The objective of the project is to improve organizational and institutional capacity for managing refugees and host communities.
The Country Director World Bank Najy Benhassine ensured the World Bank’s continuous financial and technical support to the government of Pakistan to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the Country.