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September 11, 2020

ADB loan disbursements: Centre, provincial govts worst performers

National

September 11, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The federal and four provincial governments are projected to remain the worst performers on account of disbursements of Asian Development Bank (ADB) loans during the current year.

Official documents, prepared after a recent wrap-up meeting between the ADB and Pakistani high-ups on Thursday, showed that Balochistan’s situation is the worst with respect to the projected disbursement of the ADB loan amount.

It exposes governance and implementation failures at all tiers of governments including the federal, provincial and departmental levels. The federal government’s performance is not encouraging, as it originally envisaged $553 million disbursements in the current year but the actual disbursement is now projected at $236 million, almost 50 percent less than the original plan.

In case of Balochistan, it was projected that the disbursement would be standing at $6 million but it was revised downward to $2 million and now it is projected to remain around big zero in current year 2020.

The PTI-led KP government originally projected disbursement of $101 million that was slashed down to $85 million. However, now it is projected to remain at around $25 million in the current year.

The Punjab government touched the lowest ebb, as the disbursement was revised downward to $74 million against the envisaged $117 million. Now it is projected that the disbursement of loan amount will be standing at just $12 million for the current year.

In case of Sindh, the original disbursement target was envisaged at $51 million but it was revised downward to $33 million. However, the actual projection stands at $11 million. In totality, in the current year, $828 million was to be disbursed, which was revised downward to $747 million but now it would be standing at $283 million.

“It’s quite pathetic performance” official sources said, adding that weak implementation mechanism was the major cause of dismally low disbursements of the ADB loans. There are different reasons for slow-moving projects, as the contracts could not be awarded well on time. In case of Balochistan, against the envisaged target of awarding $14 million contracts in projects, there was zero amount so far awarded in any project.

The federal government originally plans to award contracts of $560 million that was revised up to $768 million but now it stands at only $186 million. The KP government envisaged award of $46 million contracts but in actual the amount stands at $10 million only.

Punjab is the worst performer, as it originally planned to award $306 million contracts that was revised downward to $261 million. The actual amount of awarding contract in case of ADB loans stands at just $5 million.

Sindh performance is also pathetic, as it envisaged award of a $148 million contract that was revised downward to $29 million. However, documents show nil amount of award contracted so far in the current year. In totality, the whole country envisaged an award contract of $1.088 billion but in actual it stood at $202 million only.

When the top officials of Economic Affairs Division and ADB were contacted, they said minister for economic affairs had taken a notice of slow disbursement and participated in deliberations for three days and expressed hope that the implementation process would improve because the finding of the wrap-up meetings would be shared with Prime Minister Imran Khan for proper follow-up.