WASHINGTON: The World Bank has allocated an unprecedented amount of $1.8 billion for Pakistan’s development projects in the energy and water sectors. Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh made the announcement after holding a meeting with Vice President of the World Bank, Isabel Guerrero, on the sidelines of the IMF-World Bank annual spring gathering of economic leaders from around the world.
The financial institution has also expressed its willingness to assist with financing the multi-year Dasu dam project, to be built in the Kohistan area on the River Indus, with a 1,500MW power generation capacity. They have already approved the power generation enhancement project.
“The World Bank allocating this unprecedented amount in one year is a big sign of confidence in Pakistan’s ability to accomplish development for its people,” Dr Shaikh said.
The amount follows last year’s $1.2 billion in assistance, and will be spent on upgrades and completion of development projects in the energy and water sectors as well as infrastructure, social and reform programs.
“The World Bank vice president was appreciative of Pakistan’s economic performance in these difficult times of global economic and regional challenges,” the finance minister added.
Pakistan’s ambassador to the US, Sherry Rehman, also attended the meeting. “This signifies that both the international community and the financial institutions have a growing confidence in Pakistan’s dedication and ability to realise development for its people,” said Ambassador Sherry Rehman.
Vice President Guerrero expressed satisfaction with the measures Islamabad has taken to enhance its revenue generation, which has increased by 25% over the last nine months. Other measures include the continuing strong performance of the external sector, both exports and remittances and a healthy 4% GDP growth expected this year.
Dr Shaikh acknowledged the World Bank’s sustained cooperation with Pakistan, calling the financial institution a reliable development partner of Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 23rd, 2012.