ISLAMABAD: The Finance Ministry will use $20 million loan for State-Owned Enterprises Reforms (SOERs) to support privatisation and power sector reforms.
The loan will be obtained from the Asian Development Bank (ADB), a source told Customs Today.
Pakistan became a founding member of ADB in 1966. Now ADB is one of Pakistan’s largest development partners in terms of both the number of loans and the total funding it has provided. As of 31 December 2013, ADB provided more than $24 billion in loans, in addition to more than $200 million in grants for over 350 technical assistance projects
The source said that ADB considered that Pakistan has the potential to achieve higher growth to accommodate a rapidly growing working-age population as the country had considerable natural resources and ample scope to improve agricultural productivity, and to expand markets for the manufacturing and service sectors.
“Assistance from ADB supports government’s goals of facilitating structural change, promoting investment, and improving institutional effectiveness,” he said.
He added that with more than $17.8 billion disbursed for infrastructure, services, and reforms from ordinary capital resources and the Asian Development Fund, the ADB has provided a total of 307 loans.
The source added that ADB and the Finance Ministry had implemented the country partnership strategy, 2009-2013, a $4.4 billion lending program to support the government’s goals of facilitating structural change, promoting investment, and improving institutional effectiveness.
“Assistance from ADB has strengthened Pakistan’s social and environmental safeguards by providing technical guidance, and by improving monitoring and resettlement practices as ADB has also helped integrate environmental concerns into government projects and programmes,” the source added.
The source said that ADB has supported the conflict-affected Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) with a $44.6 million loan under the FATA Rural Development Project to improve watershed productivity, agricultural productivity, community infrastructure, access to drinking water, and communications in tribal areas.
“This project has helped plant trees on more than 10,000 hectares (ha), imparted practical skills and new farming techniques, and enhanced cattle-raising and livestock-management facilities for more than 52,000 households. Over 6,300 have of new land been brought under irrigation. ADB’s $40.1 million Sindh Coastal Community Development Project (SCCDP), completed in 2013, organized community-based organizations, in which 52% of participating members were women” the source observed.
In terms of transport, the source said that ADB had also provided $760 million to construct or rehabilitate over 1,200 km of regional and national highways and 150 km Qila Saifulla–Zhob National Highway was completed last year.