ADB, World Bank to provide $2 bn loan to Pakistan (Lead)

February 7th, 2009 - 12:51 am ICT by IANS  

Islamabad, Feb 6 (DPA) The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide a loan of $1.5 billion to Pakistan for the improvement of its infrastructure, an official of the bank said Friday. Separately, the World Bank has also expressed willingness to Pakistani authorities for providing $500-million loan.”The ADB plans to approve $1.5 billion for Pakistan’s various projects during the ongoing calendar year 2009 against disbursement of $1.87 billion in 2008,” ADB Country Director Rune Stroem told reporters in Islamabad.

He was addressing a press conference after signing an agreement with Pakistan’s Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division, Farrakh Qayyum for the provision of $300-million loan to improve water and sanitation services in six cities in the southern province of Sindh.

More such agreements amounting to around $1.2 billion are to be signed in the coming months.

“This programme is aimed at bringing improvement in water, sanitation and solid waste management,” Qayyum said.

Sindh, Pakistan’s second most populous province, faces rising population growth, a severe deficit of basic urban infrastructure and services and growing urban poverty.

Limited access to and poor quality of water supply, together with poor sanitation, is causing a spread of diseases and chronic illnesses such as diarrhoea, especially among children.

“The investment will help the provincial government of Sindh cope with mounting challenges in providing basic urban services to an estimated 4 million residents over the next several years,” Stroem said.

Meanwhile, The World Bank (WB) will extend $500 million to Pakistan under its Poverty Reduction and Economic Stabilisation Operation during the current fiscal year ending June 30, a senior official at Pakistan’s finance ministry said.

“The WB has agreed to resume programme loans for Pakistan,” said the official privy to the meeting between Pakistani Minister of State for Economic Affairs, Hina Rabbani Khar, and the visiting WB’s Managing Director Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

However, Khar refused to deny or confirm the report that WB was willing to give Pakistan $500-million loan.

“I cannot presume at this moment how much the WB will extend but there will be portion of its lending portfolio,” she added.

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