ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is envisaging financing of over $ 2 billion to support Pakistan’s post-flood relief and resilience activities by end of the current calendar year.

This was stated by ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Eugene Zhukov, flanked by ADB Senior Advisor for Central and West Asia Cindy Malvicini and ADB Central and West Asia Director for Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Lyaziza Sabyrova while briefing the media. Replying to a question, the ADB official said that the budgetary support of $ 1.5 billion will be disbursed in the current calendar year subject to the Board approval.

He further stated that they want the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme to be on track to facilitate the disbursement. He said that the ADB is processing $ 1.5 billion countercyclical support for Pakistan to mitigate the impact of rising food prices and other external shocks on the poor and vulnerable.

Further, the Bank is also aiming to mobilise $ 500-700 million package for Pakistan for immediate relief assistance, early recovery and rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance. Responding to a question with respect to the post-flood relief and resilience measures in Pakistan, Zhukov said: “We are working in close collaboration with the local government and other international development partner to finalise the damage needs assessment that might be finalise by mid of next month”.

Expressing sympathies and grief over the huge devastation caused by the recent floods and torrential rains in Pakistan, he said the ADB had already provided $ 3 million grant for the immediate purchase of relief goods such as food supplies.

ADB to repurpose assistance for Pakistan to support flood rehabilitation

He said the ADB was providing unprecedented support of $ 100 billion to deliver climate financing to its developing member countries from 2019 to 2030.

He said in the agriculture sector yields for major food crops (wheat, rice, and maize) in the CAREC region have declined by three percent to 10 percent.

Disasters are increasing in intensity, as seen in recent flooding in Pakistan, he said adding that 33 million people were affected, 1.7 million homes have been damaged and over 600,000 people were in relief camps.

The region’s recovery continues but slowed by external challenges, said the ADB official, adding that Pakistan’s GDP growth is projected to slow down to 3.5 percent in the current fiscal year.

A high-level Pakistan delegation, led by Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Federal Minister for Economic and Political Affairs, held a series of meetings with the senior management of the ADB on the margins of 2022-55th Annual Meetings of the Multilateral Development Partner.

Other members of the Pakistan delegation including Secretary Dr Kazim Niaz, Executive Director ADB, representing Pakistan, Noor Ahmed and high-ranking officials of Economic Affairs and Finance Divisions also joined the meetings. During the meeting with the Asian Development Bank Group President, Masatsugu Asakawa, he assured the ADB’s support in relief, rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

The EAD minister, while appreciating the ADB’s support to Pakistan, assured that the present government is committed to implementing reforms in key areas of economy and governance. He also extended the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s invitation to President ADB to visit Pakistan to witness the devastating effects of the recent floods. The Pakistan delegation also called on Shixin Chen, Vice President (Operations-I) ADB, and Eugene Zhukov, Director General Central and West Asia Department of ADB.

The two sides discussed the performance of the ADB’s ongoing portfolio in Pakistan and future pipeline projects. Sadiq, appreciated the ADB’s management for fast-tracking the proposed $ 1.5 billion Countercyclical Support Facility (CSF) to help the government develop and implement countercyclical expenditure measures for mitigating the impact of cumulative shocks to the Pakistan economy.

Chen assured due support to Pakistan under this initiative and informed that the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has also committed to co-finance additional $ 500 Million under the CSF. Chen, while responding to a proposal from Sadiq, amenably agreed to repurpose and enhance ADB’s assistance for Pakistan to support the rehabilitation and reconstruction, through ongoing reforms besides balancing a mix between project mode of financing and program lending, after the results of Post Disaster Needs Assessment being jointly conducted by ADB, World Bank and the UN agencies.

On the sidelines of the Annual Meeting, the delegation also held various bilateral meetings with various Governors of ADB member countries.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022


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