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ISLAMABAD: The federal government on Thursday flagged the need of the USAID economic grant for the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), the energy sector reforms, and western corridor to strengthen the portfolio.

This was revealed by a senior official, while talking to Business Recorder, after the tripartite wrap-up meeting on portfolio review of USAID projects in Pakistan held at Ministry of Economic Affairs, and chaired by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

The meeting was attended by officials of the USAID and senior officers of the provincial governments and line departments.

Pakistan and USA signed "Pakistan Enhanced Partnership Agreement (PEPA)" on September 30, 2010.

The volume of committed economic assistance under the PEPA is $4.275 billion and out of this, the USAID has disbursed $3.4 billion to Pakistan.

The total number of on-going projects are 65, encompassing socio-economic sector like education, health, energy, agriculture, infrastructure/reconstruction, democracy and governance, economic growth, and resilience.

Sources revealed that it was revealed that the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province was not following the international practices in implementing the projects financed through grant in taxation measures.

The federal minister recommended the provincial government to follow the international standard in implementing projects.

The federal minister also indicated that the government would review the policy framework for grant assistance to make it demand driven, public centric and multi-sectorial to cultivate maximum benefits for communities.

He flagged the need of the USAID economic grant for the BISP, energy-sector reforms, and western corridor to strengthen the portfolio.

Sources further said that technical issues were highlighted during the meeting hindering the WAPDA projects.

The minister also highlighted the role of the portfolio review sessions to surveil the status of projects, identify the bottlenecks, and set the targets to expedite implementation process.

He underlined the need of regular reporting and coordination mechanism between donor and recipient to execute the project in an efficient manner.

The minister appreciated the grant extended by the USAID worth USD 32 million under the PEPA to curtail the negative impact on the economy during the pandemic, which remained the highest grant assistance for combating the Covid-19 in Pakistan.

He laid stress to improve this portfolio by synergizing the development agenda to maximize the utility of this aid programme in the country.

He said that the government had simplified project planning, approval and execution process to expedite the process of project implementation.

The minister directed to the heads of relevant departments to address the technical issues and safeguard the compliances to improve the performance of the USAID projects.

At the conclusion of the meeting, the mission director thanked the minister to chair the portfolio review sessions for timely implementation of the projects.

She hoped that the economic cooperation between the US and Pakistan would continue in the future.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020