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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Secretary Syed Zafar Ali Shah Thursday said that according to a preliminary estimate the GDP growth rate may remain two percent in the ongoing fiscal year and damage reassessment including reconstruction may be $ 30 billion due to floods in the country.

“However, we are collecting data of damage assessment for a preliminary report and the verification process will be completed by September 30th and the preliminary report will be completed by October 15.

The teams of government and 10 international development partners including the World Bank (WB), the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the United Nations (UN), and others are jointly working on the preparation of the preliminary report for the damage assessment of floods in the country,” the planning secretary expressed these views in an informal conversation with journalists on Thursday.

He said that 100 experts from development partners including the WB, the ADB, the UN, the EU, Turkey, etc, are working in 12 to 17 sectors for the preparation of preliminary estimates on damage and reconstruction. He said that the government of Pakistan will lead the relief efforts while the experts will provide technical expertise to assess the field damages and the reconstruction cost. After the final assessment, the government will raise funds for reconstruction.

Government launches ‘Adopt A District’ programme for flood-affected regions

Regarding railways damage assessment, Zafar Ali said that initially it has been estimated that $ 2.3 billion will be required for the reconstruction of railway tracks, bridges, and other associated infrastructure damaged by floods. He said that a total of 113 districts across Pakistan have been affected by floods but as many as 83 districts of them are calamity hit and there is a need of 100 percent reconstruction/rehabilitation work.

He said that there is an estimate of $ 3 billion for the reconstruction of houses. However, he said that the provinces are continuously working on damage reassessment. He said that the Sindh government will start work on reassessment in those areas when the water would recede. He said that most of the railway tracks in Sindh are submerged in water.

He said that the flood badly affected the crops of cotton, rice, and others in Sindh. He said that there is an estimated loss of three million cotton bales. However, now it seems that the situation is not that bad and the loss may come down to 2.7 million bales, the secretary said, and added that it is a bit early to give the exact estimate of the losses to the cotton crop. He said that the cultivation of wheat crop would also be affected in future in Sindh and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

He said that 4.3 million families have been affected due to massive floods in the country. About Balochistan, he said that more than 0.3 million people have been affected due to the floods. He said that the ADB approved a $3 million grant to support the Government of Pakistan’s emergency relief efforts amid widespread floods across the country.

The planning secretary further informed that they are updating the flood protection plan 2017 and a Dutch consultant in partnership with NESPAK will do the job. He said that so far the government has redirected $ 303 million of donor funding toward flood relief efforts. This amount includes $300 million funds from the World Bank and $3 million of the ADB, he said.

He said that so far the international community has pledged $160 million but the reconstruction and rehabilitation efforts will require a far higher amount of funds. Answering a question about diverting funds of PSDP-2022-23 for the flood-affected people, the planning secretary said that work is continuing for this purpose, however, we have not taken a final decision so far. He said that the government is currently providing Rs70bn to the flood-affected people through the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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Rebirth Sep 23, 2022 09:35am
If Argentina got a 45 billion dollar IMF package when there was no COVID or Ukraine war, Pakistan would need twice as much considering these two global challenges, made so much worse by the damages caused by the floods. Anything short of that would be a travesty.
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