World Bank raises Pakistan's annual assistance to $1.5b

ISLAMABAD— The World Bank has increased Pakistan's annual assistance from $1 billion to $1.5 billion with a view to significantly help improve the country's weakening infrastructure especially relating to power, energy, ports & shipping and communications.

By From A Correspondent

Published: Wed 17 Aug 2005, 10:25 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 4:15 PM

Similarly, the World Bank has assured to offer enhanced funding for improving social sectors so that people could get primary education, basic health facilities and clean drinking water by 2007 as promised by the government of Pakistan.

According to official sources, like the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Bank was also willing to extend substantial financial and technical assistance especially for adequately improving Pakistan's physical infrastructure and social sectors.

The visiting new World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz held a detailed meeting with senior Pakistani authorities yesterday and said that his Bank would very much like to offer sizeable assistance for strengthening country's infrastructure especially relating to power and energy sectors. Similarly, he asked how best his Bank could support Pakistan to improve its social sectors with a view to alleviate poverty and create new job opportunities in the country.

During his meeting with Prime Minister's Advisor on Finance Dr. Salman Shah, Governor State Bank Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Minister for Privatisation and Investment Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, State Minister for Economic Affairs Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar and Economic Advisor to the Ministry of Finance Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan, the World Bank President was informed that Pakistan would appreciate to have sufficient international support for improving its deteriorating infrastructure and social sectors.

This is Wolfowitz first visit to Pakistan after assuming the charge of the World Bank's president. Earlier, he served as the US deputy secretary of defence under US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld. The WB president is here for a 4-day visit during which he would also meet the president, the prime minister, ministers for education, health and other senior government officials.

When contacted Dr. Ashfaque Hasan Khan said that Pakistan has not specifically given its funding requirements relating to infrastructure and social development to the WB president. "But we were asked how best the WB could support Pakistan particularly keeping in view the economic turn around that had been achieved during the last five years", he said.

He said the new WB president was very much impressed about the significant success that Pakistan achieved in improving its economy. "We want to replica Pakistan's success story in other developing countries", Dr. Khan quoted the WB president as having said. Dr. Khan who is also the director general of Debt Coordination Office said the WB new president believed that Pakistan's strategic direction would help the country to remove poverty and unemployment. He said Mr. Wolfowitz informed the Pakistani authorities that international financial institutions today considered Pakistan a very important country whose funding requirements relating to development should be fulfilled.

"The Bank is likely to offer sizeable financial assistance to Pakistan to help strengthen its physical infrastructure", the economic advisor to the ministry of finance said. He pointed out that one of the main obstacles to development has been, and still, was the inadequate infrastructure, which needed to be improved with the help of the international donor agencies, including the World Bank.

Strengthening the country's infrastructure, Dr. Khan said, was a basic imperative for sustaining growth momentum and that an efficient transport and communication network was a vital element of strong infrastructure. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had earlier indicated to extend $250 to $300 million for improving Pakistan's crumbling infrastructure.

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