Islamabad: November 09, 2021
Mr. Eugenue Zukhov, Director General, Central & West Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank called on Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs in Islamabad today. The Minister for Economic Affairs appreciated the ADB for their continued technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan.
The Minister also acknowledged the ADB for providing US$ 500 million for procurement of COVID Vaccine. The Minister shared that the Government is committed to provide maximum vaccination coverage to eligible population.
The Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted that given rapid urbanization and population growth, urban services sector was a high priority of the present Government.
The Government is committed to improve urban infrastructure and services including water & sanitation services, public transport, urban flooding & disaster management and health facilities. At present, ADB is financing 32 development projects amounting to US$ 6.4 billion in energy, road & transport, agriculture & irrigation, urban services, education, health and social protection.
The Minister further highlighted that through the National Coordination Committee on Foreign Funded Projects, EAD had not only significantly improved performance of ongoing projects by removing major bottlenecks including delays in land acquisition, right of way issues & hiring of project staff, but had also undertaken an internal exercise to weed out non-performing projects to redirect resources towards more sustainable projects.
The Minister also informed Mr. Zhukov that further efforts are being made within EAD to improve project management and oversight by creating a dedicated monitoring cell. The Minister, while appreciating the ADB’s continued support to Pakistan, assured the Director General, ADB that the Government is committed to complete structural reforms in multiple areas of the economy including energy, capital markets, trade competitiveness, domestic resource mobilization and governance.
The Minister suggested new areas for ADB’s assistance including support for the provision of basic amenities i.e. Energy, Roads & Urban Services etc. to the erstwhile FATA region which has been merged into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
The Director General reiterated ADB’s commitment to support the government’s reform agenda and to speed up the economic recovery process amid COVID-19 pandemic. He informed that ADB plans to provide Pakistan about US$ 10 billion in fresh assistance for various development projects, particularly in the sectors of urban services, disaster risk reduction and policy-based programs in the next 5-years.
Mr. Zhukov also informed the government that additional financing of US$ 700 million is currently available for Pakistan to procure COVID-19 vaccines under ADB’s APVAX facility.
The Director General, ADB also appreciated the Government of Pakistan’s support in successfully evacuating ADB personnel working in Afghanistan. The ADB Team commended the Minister for Economic Affairs for his proactive approach for enhanced partnership and regular portfolio reviews.
The Minister for Economic Affairs and Director General, ADB agreed to continue discussing ways to further deepen ADB and Pakistan’s development partnership; and ensure effectiveness of the ongoing portfolio. Mr. Yong Ye, Country Director, Mr. Asad Aleem, Principal Energy Specialist & Mr. Nasruminallah Mian, Senior Project Officer also joined the meeting.