World Bank grants $425m to Pakistan

Aims to bolster social protection system, support underprivileged

Irshad Ansari January 23, 2024


The World Bank is set to contribute an additional $425 million to Pakistan for social security initiatives, receiving in-principle approval from the caretaker Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar. Acknowledging the World Bank’s ongoing support, Akhtar granted in-principle approval for the additional financing for two major projects valued at $425 million, as announced by the Ministry of Finance.

In a meeting between the World Bank delegation, led by Country Director Najy Benhassine, and Finance Minister Shamshad Akhtar on Monday, the Crisis-Resilient Social Protection Programme “CRISP” programme received approval to address the ongoing social crisis. The World Bank committed $250 million to the CRISP programme, executed through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP). The program aims to support the development of a more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to any future crisis resilience among poor and vulnerable households.

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The caretaker finance minister proposed another meeting next week to finalise the programme’s format. During the meeting, the “Resilient and Accessible Microfinance Programme (RAM),” amounting to $175 million, was also approved to help enhance access to microcredit and provide small loans to the underprivileged.

The finance minister suggested mobilising local resources rather than relying on foreign loans to support microfinance banks and institutions. Based on the discussions, Akhtar requested a detailed dataset to enhance the programme’s background work and ensure accuracy. She urged the World Bank team to collaborate with the International Finance Corporation team to further refine the programme.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 23rd, 2024.

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