MANILA: Asian Development Bank (ADB) Vice President Shixin Chen has reaffirmed support for Pakistan’s development efforts and coronavirus pandemic response during a series of virtual meetings with senior Pakistan government officials.
In a series of meetings from October 27 to November 17, Chen met with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and ADB Governor Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, Federal Minister for Energy Omar Ayub, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Reza Baqir, and Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) and Federal Minister for Poverty Alleviation and Social Safety Protection Sania Nishtar, among other senior officials and development partners.
“ADB and Pakistan have a long-standing development partnership having worked together to confront various challenges and emergencies,” Chen said. “Our swift and robust response to Pakistan in combating the Covid-19 pandemic has further strengthened this partnership. We will continue to work closely with the government, development partners, and the private sector to assist Pakistan, including through our forthcoming five-year country partnership strategy. This will support the post-Covid-19 economic recovery, help to resume and strengthen reform programmes, and implement the country’s development agenda.”
During the meetings, ADB’s project portfolio performance, support for Covid-19 response, and development priorities were discussed among the ADB vice president and Pakistani ministers.
The government underscored the importance of measures being taken to improve the readiness of processing and implementation of development projects and highlighted the value of ADB’s support for policy reforms and regional cooperation.
The ADB official also discussed energy sector reforms with Omar Ayub, while Sania Nishtar highlighted the regional development bank’s swift assistance through the flagship Ehsaas programme.
Furthermore, the country’s central bank’s stabilisation measures, ADB’s ongoing financial sector programmes, and strategies to stimulate economic recovery were also discussed.
Chen held consultations with key development partners including World Bank (WB) Country Director for Pakistan, International Monetary Fund (IMF) resident representative, head of the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office in Pakistan, USAID Pakistan mission director, and representatives of the US Embassy to Pakistan.
As part of the series of meetings, Chen also participated in a micro, small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) themed roundtable and engaged with the regulator, bankers, and entrepreneurs to discuss strengthening business and job opportunities for rapid post-Covid recovery.
ADB has provided significant support to Pakistan’s Covid-19 response. This includes a $500 million loan approved in June to help the government deliver social protection programmes to the poor and vulnerable, expand health sector capabilities, and deliver a pro-poor fiscal stimulus to boost growth and create jobs.
Earlier in May this year, ADB had approved a $300 million emergency assistance loan to strengthen Pakistan’s public health response to the pandemic and help meet the basic needs of vulnerable and poor segments of society.