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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $600 million to Pakistan for Ehsaas Programme under the Integrated Social Protection Development Programme. This was informed during a call on meeting of Yong Ye, country director, ADB with Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, here on Thursday.

Yong Ye briefed the minister on the ADB’s portfolio in Pakistan.

The country director highlighted that the ADB had committed to provide $6.3 billion under Country Operation Business Plan (2021-2023) to Pakistan.

At present, 32 projects worth $6.4 billion are under implementation in energy, road and transport, agriculture and irrigation, urban services, education, health and social protection.

The country director further informed that the bank had recently negotiated a new programme with the Government of Pakistan’s for providing $600 million for Integrated Social Protection Development.

Ehsaas Programme: Subsidy scheme required to be expanded: PM

This programme will support the government of Pakistan’s efforts to implement high priorities from its Ehsaas Programme (social protection and poverty reduction) in a coordinated, cohesive and systematic manner.

Under this programme, institutional capacity for social protection and climate resilience will also be strengthened.

Furthermore, access to primary and secondary education, health services and nutrition supplies will be enhanced for women (especially mothers), adolescents, and children of poor families.

He also reiterated the ADB’s commitment to continue its technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan for priority areas. Official sources revealed to Business Recorder that the ADB provided $394 million in 2013 and $200 million in 2018 for Social Protection Development Project to the BISP, which were going to be fully utilised in few months.

During the Covid, the ADB also provided $200 million for social protection/Ehsaas in 2020. Now the ADB will provide another $600 million.

In addition, the ADB would also provide $3 million grant for that programme, the official added.

The Minister for Economic Affairs appreciated the ADB Management and Board of Directors for their continued technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan.

The minister also acknowledged the ADB’s timely support for procurement of Covid vaccine.

The minister reiterated that the government was committed to provide maximum vaccination coverage to eligible population.

Both the sides also discussed to mobilise additional financial resources for mass vaccination drive in the country.

Ehsaas Programme different from BISP: Dr Sania

The minister shared the government’s vision and development priorities with the ADB team.

He highlighted the importance of improved road network and digital connectivity which were fundamental for service delivery and economic growth through enhanced mobility of individuals, farm to market access, trade of goods and services, exchange of information and e-commerce.

The minister also emphasised on capacity building of project executing agencies and staff for efficient project implementation. He stressed on using digital tools and satellites for effective project monitoring across the country.

The Minister for Economic Affairs also chaired a high-level meeting to review the financing needs for procurement of Covid-19 vaccine.

The meeting was attended by the secretary EAD, the chairman NDMA, director general (Health) of MoNHSR&C, the ADB team and senior government officials. The minister directed to ensure uninterrupted supply of vaccine and identify financing gap, if any.

The ADB team commended the minister for economic affairs for his proactive approach and facilitation.

During the meeting, Omar congratulated Yong Ye on assuming charge as the country director in Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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