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LAHORE: A World Bank delegation led by its Country Director Najy Benhassine met with Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and former federal minister Moonis Elahi at the Chief Minister’s Office wherein it was agreed to increase cooperation in different fields between the Punjab government and the World Bank.

A detailed discussion was held about the World Bank-assisted social and infrastructure improvement program in the province. The country director assured to promote cooperation in education, health, family planning, irrigation, agriculture and construction of small dams while offering to give 35 million dollars to the Punjab government for cash transfer for flood victims.

The Chief Minister Parvez Elahi said on the occasion that 35 million US dollars will be linked to the ‘Punjab Ehsaas Program’ and distributed among the flood victims. I have had a long-standing relationship with the World Bank. With World Bank support, beneficial reforms were introduced in education and health, and educational reforms were also acknowledged globally, he said and added that the government wants to restart this cooperation.

The CM mentioned that permission has been granted to recruit ad-hoc doctors and other staff in the health department and make medicines free in emergency wards in hospitals. Similarly, special medical camps have been set up in flood-affected areas to prevent epidemics and a comprehensive plan has been drawn up for rehabilitation, he added. “We will welcome the cooperation of the World Bank with the Punjab government at all levels,” he said, adding: “The province would move ahead while adopting short and long-term cooperation with the World Bank.”

The CM observed that there is a need to formulate a multi-pronged strategy in the context of climate change. Water storage projects will be started to save flood and rainwater, he said and noted that the World Bank is the most important development partner of the Punjab government.

Najy Benhassine said that he will continue to cooperate with the Punjab government under the leadership of CM Parvez Elahi and added that education, health and social sector reforms of the Punjab government will yield positive results. The World Bank will continue to work under close coordination with the Punjab government, he added.

Chief Secretary Abdullah Sumbal, former Chairman P&D Salman Ghani, SMBR, secretary local government, secretary finance and others were also present.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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