MANILA/ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide a $1.2 billion assistance package to Pakistan, the major chunk of which will be spent for improving power, transport, agriculture and urban service sectors, Radio Pakistan reported on Saturday.

According to the agreement, the bank in its new five year partnership strategy with Pakistan will provide the amount annually for infrastructure development and institutional reforms.

Apart from collaborating in rehabilitation of power transmission and distribution systems, construction and repair of highway, ADB. will also help rehabilitate the Indus Basin Irrigation System and invest in transport projects in urban centres of Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.

The assistance package will also expand the outreach of Benazir Income Support Programme, the poverty reduction initiative started by country’s federal government back in 2008.

About 2.4 million women beneficiaries will be added to the programme with the help of this annual assistance package.

The incumbent PML-N government which inherited the Benazir Income Support Programme has already spent Rs40 billion on the BISP and enhanced allocation to Rs97bn.

Sources in the Finance Division back in April said that during the current fiscal year the government had designed the NISP and enhanced allocations to Rs118bn — Rs97bn for the BISP and Rs21bn for the Prime Minister’s Youth Programme (PMYP).

The Asian Development Bank will help establish a government owned disaster risk fund to mitigate risks and enhance resilience to natural disasters.

The bank claims to be one of Pakistan’s largest development partners, having provided more than $25 billion in loans, as well as more than $200 million in grants, as of Dec 31, 2014.

This funding has included 316 loans to improve Pakistan’s infrastructure and services, and to support reforms.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2014, ADB assistance totaled $22.9 billion, including cofinancing of $9.2 billion.

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