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ISLAMABAD: The Independent Evaluation Department (IED) of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has rated technical assistance for “Pakistan: Economic Management Support” as successful and relevant.

The IED in its validation report stated that the technical assistance (TA) project was aimed at revitalizing the economic growth of Pakistan. Its anticipated outcome was a government that is enabled to make informed and well-considered economic policy decisions and pursue progress in structural and economic reforms.

The planned outputs were to have (i) policy notes, road maps, and strategic plans on important economic policy reforms completed; (ii) concept notes finalized and key reforms identified—for the Asian Development Bank (ADB)’s policy-based lending (PBL) support to Pakistan; and (iii) knowledge sharing activities completed.

At the time of processing (2018), the economy of Pakistan was facing serious structural constraints. Low tax revenues and expansionary fiscal policies resulted in increased fiscal deficits.

Simultaneously, growing levels of imports and stagnant levels of export growth resulted in an increased current account deficit.

An overvalued currency rate led to a drop in foreign exchange reserves, state-owned enterprises (SOEs) were inefficient, and human capital policies and programs were weak.

Following the general elections in 2018, a new government took office with a manifesto to address such economic and social challenges. The TA project was developed to support the government in addressing these binding constraints to inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Pakistan.

This would be done through the preparation of policy notes, road maps, and strategic plans that would inform and position the government to take necessary actions to undertake sustainable economic and structural reforms.

The TA project was relevant, and aligned with the priorities of the Government of Pakistan, and with the strategic directions of ADB.

The minor deficiencies were adequately addressed during implementation. The rationale was clearly explained and the choice of a small-scale TA as a modality was appropriate, allowing fast response to identified challenges.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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