ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is likely to lose a $60 million concessional loan due to vested interests of the bureaucracy, Profit learnt on Sunday.
Sources said that Pakistan and the World Bank had signed a $188 million concessional loan programme, The Pakistan Hydroment and Climate Services Project, to tackle climate change and natural disasters after approvals from CDWP and ECNEC.
Under this project, Pakistan has to develop a strong and robust early warning system so that timely outlook, forecast and warnings can be issued to different segments of society including disaster management authorities, the transport and aviation industry, and most importantly farmers who face the brunt of weather calamity.
“The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has to use $60 million funds while a grant of $128 million to provinces for the climate project,” sources said, adding that the department has also prepared a comprehensive project with the support of WB and World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) experts to modernise the early warning and meteorological system.
However, sources claim that the current PMD Director General (DG), Muhammad Riaz, has opposed this project as he was neither a part of the team which prepared it nor did he have a formal role in its implementation.
“Instead, he wants to replace it with his own project for which there is no funding and has therefore been misguiding the new Secretary Aviation, Shoukat Ali, and delaying the approval of PC-1,” they added.
Sources also said that the DG has expressed his opposition to the project at a high-level forum chaired by Planning and Economic Affairs Division (EAD) ministers, which caused Pakistan quite an embarrassment in front of the donor organisation as the project has already been signed whereas the Ministry of Planning has already written a letter to the Aviation Division to submit the PC-1.
Under these circumstances, the EAD and WB have expressed grave concerns about this delay in implementation.
Profit learnt that DG Muhammad Riaz’s actions would most likely lead to the cancellation of the concessional financing which had been converted into a grant for PMD.
The scribe approached both secretary Aviation and the PMD DG for their comments on this issue but no response was received till the filing of this story.