Revival of the loan programme by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is much awaited to recover the economy from deteriorating situation. In addition, once the IMF’s Extended Fund Facility (EFF) programme restores, it is learnt that the The Asian Development Bank (ADB) would disburse over $1.5 billion to Pakistan to support its balance of payment in the current year.
According to official sources, government requested the bank in June 2022 to expedite the approval procedure and subsequent disbursement of about $2 billion to fund the balance of payment. The said matter was also discussed during a call between Country Director ADB Yong Ye and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq.
Mr. Ayaz Sadiq attempted to convince the ADB director to provide support in other domains also such as value added and robust cold chain industry in agriculture commodities.
He further informed the ADB that, due to recent commodity and energy price increases around the world, an early approval of the Counter Cyclical Facility is critical. As per sources, the ADB was positive to inject funds in the Pakistan economy before concluding this year.
It was further shared that the ADB has current portfolio of about $8.5 billion and 40 ongoing projects. Concerns were expressed during the session about slow-moving projects such as Karachi Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and Public-Private Partnerships in Punjab. Both parties agreed to organise a detailed meeting in the next 10 days to assess all projects, with a specific focus on slow-moving projects.
According to an official release, the Minister for Economic Affairs welcomed the ADB Mission to Pakistan, which was led by Country Director Yong Ye, Deputy Country Director Asad Aleem, and Shaukat Shafi, a senior project officer in the ministry, to address the present ADB portfolio in Pakistan. The meeting covered topics of common interest.
The Minister for Economic Affairs praised the ADB for its long-standing and trusted partnership dating back to 1966, as well as its generous and timely support of more than $25 billion for priority areas such as economic reforms, energy, road and transportation, agriculture and water, and the social sector.
The ADB country director told the minister about ADB’s pre- and post-Covid assistance to Pakistan. The ADB provided assistance to Pakistan in the following areas: energy, transportation, agriculture and natural resources, fiscal policy formulation, domestic resource mobilization, public financial and debt management, public-private partnership, SME development, financial and capital markets, housing, and green finance.
The Minister of Economic Affairs praised the ADB for its aid in restoring the country’s economic stability amid the pandemic’s critical times.
The minister thanked the ADB country director for his visit to the ministry. The CD ADB also guaranteed the ADB’s continuous assistance for the meeting’s priority government sectors.
In order to save the economy from further deterioration, IMF program is necessary at least for short-term. Assistance from ADB may help the country to flourish. However, it is not a one day process but there is a hope that country will come out of the crisis soon.