The World Bank has approved a new loan of $400 million from the International Development Financing (IDA) for Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) province for addressing staff and budget issues in education and health sectors – the tasks that can be performed without contracting more debt.
According to the announcement reported by the national media outlets, the KP Spending Effectively for Enhanced Development (SPEED) program will help the provincial government strengthen its management of public resources and fiscal planning to sustain human capital investments in education and healthcare services.
“The SPEED program supports a comprehensive and robust approach to public financial management in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa that tackles key bottlenecks in planning, budgeting, procurement, and supply chain management so that adequate resources are available to deliver education and health services on a sustainable basis,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “It also underscores the provincial government’s commitment to increase transparency in public finances, service delivery, and citizen trust.
By implementing critical reforms in budget allocation and expenditures, the provincial program will contribute to the increased quality of schools and health centers and remove obstacles in the delivery of education and health services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
KP SPEED will enhance fiscal management and savings through incentives that focus on quality service delivery and accountability in education and healthcare facilities.
It also supports monitoring and evaluation to systematically assess staffing and infrastructure needs.
The program will implement quality assurance measures to evaluate the performance of education and healthcare services in the province, which focus on facility-level accountability and increased access, as well as disparities in the uptake of services among males and females.
KP SPEED will improve the predictability of resources to provide access to medicine in primary healthcare facilities, including maternal and neonatal clinics for women across the province, and increase the availability of adequate teaching staff in at least 45 percent of the primary, middle, and high schools in the province, and particularly for girls’ schools.
“The SPEED Program, together with the ongoing KP Revenue Mobilization and Public Resource Management program, offers a transformative path for the province to scale up public services for its citizens,” said Raymond Muhula, Task Team Leader for the KP-SPEED program. “The programs align with the provincial government’s public financial management reforms strategy to support budget execution and expenditure management, and revenue mobilization.”
Meanwhile, Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin stated that the continued support of the World Bank, as a major development partner, is critical to attaining fiscal consolidation, improved service delivery, and good governance in Pakistan.
He made these remarks in a meeting with Nagy Benhassine. While extending a warm welcome, the finance minister lauded the pivotal role being played by the World Bank in strengthening governance and service delivery through institutional reforms & human capital development in Pakistan over the years.
He applauded the swift and timely assistance extended by the World Bank Group for stimulating economic recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic.
While speaking on the occasion, the finance minister also reiterated the firm resolve of the government in achieving macroeconomic stability and sustained economic growth by following a consultative process.