WB to approve $1.5bn loan next month

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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank is expected to approve $1.5 billion programme and project loans for Pakistan next month after completion of discussions on energy sector reforms over the next few days. The two programme loans worth $1bn for energy sector and growth and job creation would be taken up by the World Bank board of directors on the occasion of spring meetings of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) scheduled to take place on April 11-13 in Washington.

In this context, Rachid Benmessaoud, the World Bank’s Country Director had meeting with finance minister Ishaq Dar to discuss and resolve pending issues related to World Bank assistance to Pakistan.

Mr Rachid assured the minister that his institution would provide up to $500 million for Dasu Hydropower Project.

The minister told the World Bank official Pakistan would continue to engage with multilateral forums including the World Bank for assistance in energy and infrastructure development programmes and to keep on reforming the energy sector to overcome shortages as advised by international development partners from time to time.

The country director said the World Bank had been encouraged encouraged by the positive trend of the economic indicators and was “expected to approve the assistance for Dasu Hydropower Project”.

Mr Rachid said the managing director of the World Bank Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati would be visiting Islamabad in the last week of this month to discuss development projects and hence it was essential to identify and sort out any remaining issues before the board meetings next month.

Meanwhile, Japanese ambassador Islamabad Hiroshi Inomata also called on Dar to discuss bilateral economic co-operation between the two countries. He was informed that structural reforms introduced by the new government had started to show positive results that had also been confirmed by Japanese agency Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO) that ranked Pakistan second in the world in terms of business growth.

The minister said the Japanese businesses should take the survey of their own agency seriously and expand their business in the country.

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