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June 19, 2019

WB, Pakistan sign $918m in loan agreements

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June 19, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and the World Bank (WB) signed on Tuesday three loan agreements worth $918 million to help support revenue mobilisation and higher education development in the country, as an impending bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) looms.

The agreements were signed by Economic Affairs Division Secretary Noor Ahmed on behalf of the federal government and WB Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan, while the representatives of the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government signed their respective project agreements.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, witnessed the signing ceremony. The WB would provide $400 million for the programme ‘Pakistan Raises Revenue Program’ which is aimed at contributing to a sustainable increase in domestic revenue by broadening the tax base and facilitating compliance.

The programme’s targeted results include increasing Pakistan’s tax to GDP ratio to 17 per cent, increasing the number of active taxpayers to 3.5 million, reducing the compliance burden of paying taxes and improving the efficiency of customs controls.

The programme of the Higher Education Development in Pakistan worth $400 million would support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning and strengthening governance in the higher education sector.

The project would finance for nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors, supporting decentralised higher education institutes for improved teaching and learning, equipping students and higher education institutions with modern technology, higher education management information system and data drive services, and capacity building, project management and monitoring and evaluation.

The third agreement was related to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Mobilisation and Resource Management programme worth $118 million, the objective of which is to increase collection of KP’s own- revenue sources and improve the management of public resources.

This objective would be achieved through efficient revenue mobilisation, effective public resource management and capacity building to enhance e-government functionality. The programme would help the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to mobilise its own revenue sources to address the constraint of limited fiscal space for investment and public service provision and

efficient and strategic use of the province’s financial resources.

Later, the WB country director held a meeting with Shaikh. The PM’s aide thanked the WB team for extending continuous support to the government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve the sustainable economic development of the country.

He appreciated the WB’s relationship with Pakistan and desired the programs implementing agencies to put their best efforts to implement their respective programs to help achieving the programmes’ objectives.

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