ISLAMABAD: Eugenue Zukhov, Director General, Central & West Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank Tuesday called on Omar Ayub Khan, federal minister for economic affairs, said a press release.
The Director General reiterated the ADB’s commitment to support the government’s reform agenda and to speed up the economic recovery process amid Covid-19 pandemic.
He informed that the ADB plans to provide Pakistan about $ 10 billion in fresh assistance for various development projects, particularly, in the sectors of urban services, disaster risk reduction and policy-based programmes in the next five years.
Zhukov also informed the government that additional financing of $ 700 million is currently available for Pakistan to procure Covid-19 vaccines under the ADB’s APVAX facility.
The minister for economic affairs appreciated the ADB for their continued technical and financial support to the government of Pakistan.
The minister also acknowledged the ADB for providing $ 500 million for procurement of Covid vaccine.
The minister shared that the government is committed to providing maximum vaccination coverage to eligible population.
The minister for economic affairs highlighted that given rapid urbanisation and population growth, urban services sector was a high priority of the government.
The government is committed to improving urban infrastructure and services including water and sanitation services, public transport, urban flooding and disaster management and health facilities.
At present, the ADB is financing 32 development projects amounting to $ 6.4 billion in energy, road and transport, agriculture and irrigation, urban services, education, health, and social protection.
The minister further highlighted that through the National Coordination Committee on Foreign Funded Projects, the EAD had not only significantly improved performance of ongoing projects by removing major bottlenecks including delays in land acquisition, right of way issues and hiring of project staff, but had also undertaken an internal exercise to weed out non-performing projects to redirect resources towards more sustainable projects.
The minister also informed Zhukov that further efforts are being made within the EAD to improve project management and oversight by creating a dedicated monitoring cell.
The minister, while appreciating the ADB’s continued support to Pakistan, assured the director general, ADB that the government is committed to complete structural reforms in multiple areas of the economy including energy, capital markets, trade competitiveness, domestic resource mobilisation, and governance.
The minister suggested new areas for the ADB’s assistance including support for the provision of basic amenities i.e. energy, roads and urban services etc to the erstwhile Fata region, which has been merged into the province of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.
The director general, ADB also appreciated the government of Pakistan’s support in successfully evacuating the ADB personnel working in Afghanistan.
The ADB team commended the minister for economic affairs for his proactive approach for enhanced partnership and regular portfolio reviews.
The minister for economic affairs and director general, ADB agreed to continue discussing ways to further deepen the ADB and Pakistan’s development partnership; and ensure effectiveness of the ongoing portfolio.
Yong Ye, country director, Asad Aleem, principal energy specialist and Nasruminallah Mian, senior project officer also joined the meeting.