Annual Report-2009: World Bank approves $500 million for regaining economic stability


The World Bank has approved $500 million to support the government programme to regain and maintain economic stability and steer the economy back onto a higher growth path. According to the WB Annual Report-2009, the Bank focused on helping South Asian countries cope with the impact of the global economic crisis. In Pakistan, the Bank approved $500 million to help the government put the economy back on track for attaining the higher growth target.
The WB approved $250 million for the Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund (PPAF), now active in 119 out of Pakistan’s 134 districts. Since 2000, the programme has facilitated the formation of 80,000 community organisations and provided 1.9 million micro credit loans, executed 16,000 community infrastructure schemes and given training support to 232,000 people in enterprise development skills.
The Bank is also focused on helping South Asian countries cope with the impact of the global economic crisis. To help people rebuild for earthquake survivors in Pakistan, the government formed the Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority, and, with the Bank’s financial and technical support, launched an ambitious $1.5 billion owner-driven rural housing rebuilding programme.
The salient features of this programme were technical assistance to homeowners and inspection of the reconstruction at various stages to ensure that seismic resistant designs provided by the programme were being followed. Such house-to-house assistance and inspection entailed a mammoth logistical operation for reaching out to the grant recipients, who are spread over an area of 30,000 square kilometers of mountainous terrain. In three years, some 600,000 households received rapid disbursement of nearly $1.3 billion in housing reconstruction grants.
The summary of operations approved during FY09 revealed that the IDA Poverty Reduction and Economic Support Development Policy Credit of $500 million will support the government programme to regain and maintain economic stability to increase economic growth.
IDA Second Trade and Transport Facilitation Specific Investment Credit worth $25 million will provide technical advisory services to help implement the National Trade Corridor Improvement Programme. IDA Punjab Education Sector Specific Investment Credit worth $3.3 billion will improve access and equity, and the quality and relevance of education in Punjab.
IDA Sindh Education Sector Specific Investment Credit worth $2.1 billion will support the education reforms to increase school participation, reduce gender and rural-urban disparities and improve education sector governance. IDA Third Pakistan Poverty Alleviation Fund Specific Investment Credit amounting to $250 million will empower poor people with increased incomes, improved productive capacity, and better access to services to reduce poverty.
IDA Third Partnership for Polio Eradication Specific Investment Credit worth $143.1 million will eradicate polio by ensuring timely supply and effective use of oral polio vaccines for young children. IDA Social Safety Net Technical Assistance Project Technical Assistance Credit worth $60 million will enhance the operation and management of a safety net system to cushion the effects of the food and economic crises.
IDA Sindh On-Farm Water Management Specific Investment Credit – Additional Financing of $61.7 million will improve the efficiency, reliability and equity of irrigation water distribution at watercourse levels and enhance agricultural productivity through these applications, the report maintained.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2009

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