Pakistan, World Bank discuss circular debt

Azhar informs team about plans to expand existing transmission capacity


Our Correspondent August 05, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

Pakistan has informed the World Bank that its circular debt cash flow in the energy sector declined by Rs408 billion in financial year 2020-21.

A World Bank delegation, led by Vice President for South Asia Hartwig Schafer, called on Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar on Wednesday. During the meeting, matters related to the World Bank-funded ongoing projects in the energy sector were also discussed.

Azhar said that during the last fiscal year, ie 2020-21, Rs130 billion was added to the circular debt, with a decline of Rs408 billion in the circular debt flow as compared to the previous year. The minister informed the delegation that due to effective measures taken by the government, the growth in circular debt was being curtailed by a considerable amount.

He told the delegation that this summer around 20% increase in peak demand for electricity had been registered, which was a good omen for the energy sector and the economy.

The minister said that the Power Division had planned addition of a considerable capacity to the existing transmission network by the end of current fiscal year for which funds had also been allocated.

He underscored the importance of World Bank assistance for the expansion and modernisation of Pakistan’s electricity transmission system.

The World Bank vice president, while acknowledging the efforts of the Ministry of Energy in slowing the growth of circular debt, said that Pakistan had the potential to achieve 6-7% growth.

He stressed the need for a closer working relationship between experts of the Ministry of Energy and the World Bank for the achievement of targets.

The World Bank official also called on Federal Minister for Planning Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar on Wednesday.

The planning minister appreciated the pivotal role currently being played by the World Bank in strengthening governance and service delivery in Pakistan through institutional reforms being undertaken with the support of development partners.

Speaking on the occasion, Schafer said that the World Bank greatly valued its partnership with Pakistan and supported the reform agenda of the present government.

He also acknowledged the efforts made by Pakistan for effective management of the Covid-19 crisis. He said that the World Bank was fully committed to providing assistance to the developing countries for the procurement of Covid-19 vaccines.

He highlighted that Pakistan’s efforts to curb the Covid-19 pandemic through a smart lockdown approach were being highly recognised and appreciated by the global community.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 5th, 2021.

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