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Business & Finance

ADB approves $603mn loan to support Pakistan's Ehsaas program

  • Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund
08 Dec, 2021

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $603 million results-based lending program to strengthen and expand social protection programs in Pakistan.

"Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, and will administer a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation," the ADB said in a statement issued on Wednesday.

The statement further said that by using conditional cash transfers, the program will support the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy.

ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov has said that the program marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities.

$1bn ‘economic plan’ wins ADB’s approval

“ADB’s support will transition from unconditional cash transfers that provide income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services, and nutritional supplies that will help reduce intergenerational poverty through human capital development,” he said.

The ADB said that the program supports the Ehsaas goal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education for children and adolescents of poor families, especially girls.

"It also aims to initiate coverage of accelerated learning programs at primary education level for overaged out-of-school children under conditional cash transfers," the statement said.

The program will also support improvements in implementation and fiduciary capacity for Pakistan’s social protection programs, added the press release.

"This will build on previous ADB support to further improve grievance redress, risk management, financial management, procurement, monitoring and evaluation, and management information systems—functions which help to strengthen internal controls," ADB added.

Sania Nishtar briefs Finance Minister on Ehsas programme

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister (SAPM) for Social Protection and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar said that ADB is a trusted and longstanding partner, the ADB quoted the SAPM as saying.

"This program is the result of years of engagement with ADB and other partners and focuses on areas where we believe the bank can have most impact. It is a key priority under the government’s Ehsaas strategy,” she said.

“This program incentivizes parents to send their children to schools, particularly girls, and will help to provide specialized nutritious food and conditional cash transfers to children and mothers in the districts of Pakistan that most need it."

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