Days After IMF Grant, World Bank Signs New USD 1.336 Billion Loan Agreements With Pakistan – The New Indian Express
ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has signed agreements with Pakistan to provide US $ 1.336 billion in aid to increase the cash-strapped country’s foreign exchange reserves and help support social sector programs.
A total of six project agreements, worth $ 1.336 billion in loans, including a grant of $ 128 million, were signed on Friday to support government initiatives in social protection, climate risk management and disaster, improved infrastructure for resilience, agriculture and food security. , the human capital development and governance sectors, Dawn newspaper reported.
Minister of Economic Affairs Secretary Noor Ahmad signed the funding agreements on behalf of the government of Pakistan, while representatives of the provincial governments of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan signed their respective agreements online.
Najy Benhassine, Country Director of the World Bank, signed the agreements on behalf of his organization. Minister of Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtyar also attended the ceremony.
The newspaper reported that the first loan agreement of $ 600 million was for the Crisis Resilient Social Protection Program (CRISP) to support the development of a more adaptive social protection system that will contribute to future crisis resilience among poor and vulnerable households in the country. .
The loan was signed by the bank’s board of directors a day earlier as part of its International Development Association (IDA) program. “Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, millions of families across Pakistan are facing economic hardship, especially those working in the informal sector, who have no savings or are not covered by programs existing social safety nets, ”said Benhassine.
CRISP will facilitate the gradual expansion of Ehsaas social protection programs to better reach informal workers through an innovative and hybrid approach that combines social assistance with the promotion of increased savings on which informal workers, especially women , can count in the event of economic shocks.
It will provide a platform through which the government can respond quickly to support the most affected households during an economic crisis. Earlier in the week, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed to release the next tranche of a $ 500 million loan to Pakistan after approving four pending reviews of the country’s economic progress.
For the first time in 68 years, the Pakistani economy contracted in the outgoing fiscal year with a decline of 0.38% due to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic coupled with the situation already weak before the pandemic hit the country.