ISLAMABAD  - Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) has decided to improve the disbursement process for early implementation of projects as $1.98billion out of $6.15billion loans & grants portfolio pledged by the bank has been disbursed so far.

The decision in this regard was made in a meeting of Federal Minister for Planning Development & Reform Khusro Bakhtyar with ADB Vice President (Operations-I), Shixin Chen.

ADB Vice President (Operations-I) Shixin Chen, along-with a delegation called on the Federal minister for planning. Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr. Muhammad Jahanzeb Khan, members Planning Commission and senior officials of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.

Khusro Bakhtyar said that efforts are underway to expedite the implementation of Asian Development Bank funded projects by streamlining the process to achieve the country’s development strategy and socio-economic goals.

Welcoming the ADB’s indicative assistance of $7.5 billion over the next three years for Pakistan, the Minister said that ADB portfolio may be expanded to include other priority areas.

He noted that the Bank’s Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) for 2020-2024 is under preparation and the bank may consider supporting new areas including Clean & Green Pakistan initiative, information & communications technology, higher education, housing sector, water supply for Islamabad and improving governance structures for achieving sustained development. He hoped that CPS (2020-24) will be finalised soon in consultation with all the stakeholders.

The minister said that it has been decided to review the ongoing ADB portfolio every month in consultation with all relevant stakeholders to remove bottlenecks and gaps in implementation of projects.

The Minister appreciated the Bank’s cooperation over the decades in strengthening the country’s infrastructure and in achieving socio-economic goals.

The meeting decided to improve the disbursement process for early implementation of ongoing projects. It was apprised that ADB ongoing portfolio (loans & grants) amounted to $6.15 billion against 50 projects out of which $1.98 billion has been disbursed.

ADB Vice President said that the Bank has long lasting and strong partnership with Pakistan and expressed confidence that future partnership will be further strengthened. He also appreciated the commitment and efficiency of Planning Commission in fast tracking the approval of foreign funded projects.

Meanwhile another press statement issued by the ministry of planning stated that World Bank Country Director Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan called on Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

During the meeting, Mr. Illangovan apprised that World Bank will disburse around $1.5billion this financial year for various projects as part of its active program.

Appreciating the contribution of World Bank in socio-economic development of Pakistan, the Minister said that measures are being taken to expedite the implementation of foreign funded projects by streamlining the process.

He stated that it has been decided to review the foreign funded portfolio every month in consultation with all relevant stakeholders to remove bottlenecks and gaps in implementation of projects.

During the meeting, various WB funded projects came under discussion. Illangovan said that World Bank will continue to contribute to the development of Pakistan.