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Wednesday October 27, 2021

WB’s new 5-year plan for Pakistan aims for structural reforms

By APP
August 09, 2021

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) Group is preparing its new five-year programme of support for Pakistan — the Country Partnership Framework (CPF) until 2026 — with a special focus on structural reforms, health, education, promoting climate-friendly future, inclusive growth, and good governance. During a week-long visit of the WB Vice President for South Asia, Hartwig Schafer, that concluded on Sunday, he discussed with the authorities the Pakistan government’s priorities for the next few years. The CPF has been informed by broad-based stakeholder consultations to help ensure alignment with country priorities, according to a statement issued by the WB. It said during the visit consultations were held with federal and provincial governments, parliamentarians, private sector, civil society organisations including women and youth groups, media and academia, as well as development partners.

“I am pleased to see broad support for the direction of the new Country Partnership Framework, which is structured around human capital development — particularly ensuring health and education for girls and boys to give them the best possible start; promoting a cleaner and more climate-resilient future; fostering more equitable and inclusive growth; and strengthening governance,” Schafer said.

Schafer was joined in his meetings by the Country Director for Pakistan, Najy Benhassine, and the Pakistan Alternate Executive Director for the World Bank, Naveed Baloch.

Schafer met with Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss the key reforms. The bank offered its support to ensure that new initiatives like “Kamyab Pakistan” benefit from international experience, global knowledge and implemented in a targeted, impactful and fiscally sustainable way.

In meetings with Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin, Minister of Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan, and Minister of Energy Hammad Azhar, Schafer emphasised the importance of staying the course on the structural reform programme launched by the government, particularly in the power sector and with respect to fiscal sustainability.

The meetings also focused on the importance of building fiscal resilience through harmonising general sales tax nationwide, establishing an integrated debt management office, and ensuring a sustainable macroeconomic framework that encourages private investment and growth.

Schafer also met Minister for Planning Asad Umar and Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on National Health Services Faisal Sultan. He reassured them of the bank’s continued support to finance the procurement of WHO-approved vaccines for Pakistan.

Schafer also met with Special Assistant to the PM on Climate Change Malik Amin, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood, and State Bank of Pakistan Governor Dr Reza Baqir.

Special Assistant to the PM on Poverty Alleviation and Social Protection Dr Sania Nishtar updated Schafer on the foundational progress made in developing the social protection system of Pakistan.

Schafer also held virtual meetings with Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah and Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan. He reassured them of the bank’s commitment to support their respective sustainable development agendas at the provincial level under the new CPF.

The World Bank’s programme in Pakistan is governed by the Country Partnership Strategy for FY2015-2020 with four priority areas of engagement: energy, private sector development, inclusion, and service delivery. The current portfolio has 58 projects and a total commitment of $13.8 billion.