The World Bank (WB) has approved a new loan of $400 million for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) for addressing staff and budget issues in education and health sectors.
According to a local media outlet’s report, the World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the loan under the KP Spending Effectively for Enhanced Development (SPEED) programme, which they said would help the provincial government strengthen its management of public resources and fiscal planning to sustain human capital investments in education and healthcare services.
By implementing critical reforms in budget allocation and expenditures, the provincial programme will contribute to increased quality of schools and health centres and remove obstacles to reach ‘the last mile’ in the delivery of education and health services in KP, according to the World Bank.
WB Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine said that the SPEED programme supported a comprehensive and robust approach to public financial management in KP that tackled key bottlenecks in planning, budgeting, procurement and supply chain management so that adequate resources were available to deliver education and health services on a sustainable basis.
The loan is given to ensure implementation of quality assurance measures to evaluate the performance of education and healthcare services in the province, which focus on facility-level accountability and increased access, as well as disparities in the uptake of services among males and females, said the World Bank.
The World Bank said that the $400 million loan will improve predictability of resources to provide access to medicine in primary healthcare facilities, including maternal and neonatal clinics for women across the province, and increase availability of adequate teaching staff in at least 45 per cent of primary, middle, and high schools in the province, and particularly for girls’ schools.
Earlier on Friday, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin said that continued support of the World Bank (WB) as a major development partner was critical to attaining fiscal consolidation, improved service delivery and good governance in Pakistan.
The minister was talking to Benhassine, who had made a courtesy call on the former at the Finance Division.
The minister lauded the pivotal role being played by the World Bank in strengthening governance and service delivery through institutional reforms and human capital development in Pakistan over the years. He appreciated the swift and timely assistance extended by the WB for stimulating economic recovery during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Tarin also reiterated the firm resolve of the government in achieving macro-economic stability and sustained economic growth by following a consultative process.