Lenders Willing to Lend More for Energy and Vaccines

The World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, two key multilateral organizations, are looking into ways to sell more loans to Pakistan, and their senior-level delegations met with several cabinet members back-to-back on Tuesday. 

As a result of these discussions, the ADB has formally provided another $700 million loan for Covid-19 vaccination, on top of a $500 million credit for vaccine procurement. 

A separate World Bank delegation addressed numerous infrastructure, energy, clean drinking water, drainage, education, and health-related projects that the World Bank has already sponsored. 

Eugenue Zukhov, Director General of the ADB’s Central and West Asia Department, met separately with Minister of Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan and Finance Adviser Shaukat Tarin. 

On the same day, a World Bank delegation led by Guangzhe Chen, South Asia Regional Director for Infrastructure, met with Planning Minister Asad Umar in detail and would follow up with other ministries. 

In the face of the Covid-19 outbreak, the official reiterated ADB’s commitment to supporting the government’s reform strategy and accelerating the economic recovery process 

Mr Ayub welcomed the ADB’s $500 million contributions to the Covid vaccine procurement and stated that the government was dedicated to ensuring that all eligible people were vaccinated. 

He also said that, in light of rising urbanization and population increase, the government has made strengthening urban infrastructure and services, including water and sanitation, public transportation, urban flooding and disaster management, and health facilities, a top priority. ADB is currently funding 32 development projects worth $6.4 billion in the areas of energy, road and transportation, agriculture and irrigation, urban services, education, health, and social protection. 

He claimed that not only had his ministry significantly improved the performance of ongoing projects by removing major bottlenecks such as delays in land acquisition, right-of-way issues, and project staff hiring but that it had also conducted an internal exercise to weed out non-performing projects in order to redirect resources to more sustainable projects. 

The minister proposed new areas for ADB assistance, such as support for basic facilities such as energy, roads, and urban services in the former FATA province, which had been incorporated into Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. 

Mr. Zhukov also met with Mr. Tarin, reporting that 80 % of the cash earmarked for vaccine procurement had been disbursed and that he was willing to offer extra funds if needed. 

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