ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and the World Bank (WB) on Wednesday signed four loan agreements worth $650 million to support projects in education, health, water and disaster management sectors in all the four provinces.

WB Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Tariq Bajwa signed the agreements, while representatives of the governments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan signed the agreements on behalf of their respective governments.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony.The finance minister thanked the WB for its support, while the bank’s country director appreciated Pakistan’s economic reforms and the progress it had made, especially over the last three years.

One of the projects, to be funded under the agreements, is Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Project worth $200 million.

Its objectives are to strengthen provincial government’s capacity for monitoring and managing the water resources and to improve community based water management for targeted irrigation schemes in Balochistan.

The project consists of three components, including Component 1: institutions, capacity and information; Component 2: Water Infrastructure and Management Investment and Component 3: Project Management & Technical Assistance

The government and the WB also signed a financing agreement for Third Punjab Education Sector Project (PESP-III) – $300 million.

The objective of the project is to support Punjab in improving enrolment in schools and to impart training to teachers, with a particular focus on low performing districts.

The project consists of the following components: Part 1: improved access to quality education and education system’s management, while Part 2 consists of: capacity building, project management, monitoring and evaluation.

Meanwhile, the government and the WB also signed an agreement for Sindh Resilience Project worth $100 million with the view to mitigate flood and drought risks in selected areas and to strengthen Sindh’s capacity to manage natural disasters.

The project has the following components: Component 1: strengthening disaster management. Component 2: improving infrastructure and systems for resilience. And component 3: contingent emergency response.

The fourth project is National Immunisation Support Project (NISP) worth $50 million, Multi-Donor Trust Fund Grant of $39.68 million (the MDTF Grant) for NISP:

Purpose of the project is to increase services for immunisation against Vaccine Preventable Diseases (VPD), including poliomyelitis, for infants from the time of their birth till they get 23 months old.

The project has the following parts: component 1: strengthening management, governance and stewardship functions; Component 2: improving service delivery performance; Component 3: demand generation; Component 4: vaccine supply chain and Component 5: improving capacity for increasing immunisation coverage.

Dar said on the occasion that he hoped that completion of these projects would add to the general welfare of people as promised by the government.

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