Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan (R), Director General, Central and West Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank Eugenue (L).

Islamabad, 10 November 2021 (TDI): Omar Ayub Khan, the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, thanked the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for providing US$500 million for the acquisition of COVID vaccine on Tuesday, 9 November. The minister was speaking with Eugenue Zukhov, Director General of the Asian Development Bank’s Central and West Asia Department during a meeting.

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According to a press release issued here, Omar Ayub stated that the government was committed to providing maximum vaccination coverage to the eligible people. The Minister of Economic Affairs thanked the Asian Development Bank for its sustained technical and financial assistance to the Pakistani government.

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Given rising urbanisation and population increase, the minister stated that the current government’s top priority is the urban services sector. The government is committed to improving urban infrastructure and services, such as water and sanitation, public transportation, flood and disaster management, and health care.

Currently, the ADB is funding 32 development projects in the areas of energy, road and transportation, agriculture and irrigation, urban services, education, health, and social protection totaling US$ 6.4 billion.

The Minister added that the National Coordination Committee on Foreign Funded Projects, not only had EAD significantly improved the performance of ongoing projects by removing major bottlenecks such as delays in land acquisition, right-of-way issues, and project staff hiring, but it had also conducted an internal exercise to weed out non-performing projects in order to redirect resources to more sustainable projects.

The Minister also informed that EAD is making further steps to improve project management and oversight by establishing a dedicated monitoring cell. While thanking the ADB for its sustained support, the minister informed the Director General of the ADB that the government is dedicated to completing structural reforms in a number of areas, including energy, capital markets, trade competitiveness, domestic resource mobilisation, and governance.

Minister Omar proposed new areas for ADB assistance, such as support for basic facilities such as energy, roads, and urban services in the former FATA region, which has since been incorporated into the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, the Director General reaffirmed ADB’s commitment to supporting the government’s reform strategy and accelerating the economic recovery process.

He stated that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) intends to provide Pakistan with around US$ 10 billion in new assistance over the next five years for various development projects, particularly in the areas of urban services, disaster risk reduction, and policy-based programmes. Mr. Zhukov also told the authorities that an addition had been made.

Additional funding of US$ 700 million is currently available for Pakistan to purchase COVID-19 vaccinations through the ADB’s APVAX facility, according to Zhukov.

The Director General of the ADB also expressed gratitude to the Pakistani government for assisting in the successful evacuation of ADB workers working in Afghanistan.

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The ADB team praised the Minister of Economic Affairs for taking the initiative to strengthen partnerships and conduct frequent portfolio reviews.

The Minister for Economic Affairs and the Director General of the Asian Development Bank agreed to continue discussing measures to strengthen the ADB-Pakistan development relationship and assure the portfolio’s effectiveness. The meeting was also attended by Mr. Yong Ye, Country Director, Mr. Asad Aleem, Principal Energy Specialist, and Mr. Nasruminallah Mian, Senior Project Officer.

Director General of the Asian Development Bank’s Central and West Asia Department also held meeting with the advisor Shaukat Tarin. For more details click here.