KARACHI: World Bank president Dr Jim Yong Kim has asked the Sindh government to make ambitious projects in the health, human resource, renewable energy and urban development sectors and the WB will extend its full support for the projects.
“It is my commitment; we are with you and we would support you to achieve the goals,” said Dr Kim during his meeting with Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah at CM House on Wednesday.
Welcoming the WB chief to Karachi, the chief minister briefed him on the steps taken by his government to meet the challenges being faced by the government and discussed the areas of cooperation and developing further partnership in different sectors.
The CM said poverty reduction, human development and economic growth were his government’s priorities. “Health, education, nutrition and skills development are being focused by the government in addition to infrastructure improvements and economic sector such as agriculture and industries,” he said and added that his government was keen to improve its economic growth by promoting businesses through special economic zones and public-private partnerships.
He also appreciated the WB support as a major development partner for socio-economic uplift of the province.
Dr Kim thanked the CM for his hospitality saying, “I feel privileged to visit Sindh which has very strong history and civilisation,” he said.”I am quite happy that the World Bank shares the goals of the Sindh government for poverty reduction, including economic growth and shared prosperity.”
The WB chief said Sindh had the potential to become a place of high economic growth if the issues of infrastructure gap, energy, human development and ease of doing businesses were addressed. “The World Bank prioritises human development, health improvements, and disease control and nutrition support world over for developing countries,” he said and added that the WB would continue its support for governance reforms, competitive businesses, improving infrastructure and social services, particularly health, education and nutrition, in addition to agriculture, etc.
He said the WB would soon start its support to Sindh for the formulation of Sindh Growth Strategy and complete the strategy for transformation of Karachi. “The World Bank has global experiences and practices which will be mobilised to support the government for poverty reduction and enhanced economic growth”.
The WB president also said that the large population of youth in the province might be used for economic growth through skills improvement and job placements.
Syed Murad Ali Shah, minister for finance, said the province was endowed with many of its characteristics of a high economic growth region. It is a coastal province, strategically located between Europe and the Far East, with the potential to become one of the largest logistical and business hubs in South Asia.
He further said that the Sindh government had taken various initiatives to reduce poverty and promote prosperity in the province. “Sindh through the board of revenue has increased its tax collection and implemented its fiscal discipline to bring more resources to the annual development programme,” he said and added that the technical assistance under the Karachi transformation strategy and analysing the economic potential of other major cities by the WB were highly valued by the Sindh government.
Ajaz Ali Khan, additional chief secretary (dev), gave a detailed presentation on the development initiatives of the government and its achievements. He added that infrastructure development, improved social services, energy and other sectors received better budgetary allocations for development.
He further said that the digitisation of land records was one of the major programmes to use the IT in services. “A dashboard is in process of preparation for monitoring of development schemes.”
Mr Ali said that at present the WB contributed over 60 per cent of the development financing to Sindh in the overall foreign-funded development portfolio. WB-funded projects were mainly in the areas of irrigation, agriculture, education, health and public sector management.
He said those projects were bringing in significant results to the economy and contributing to achieving the twin goals (shared prosperity and poverty reduction) of the Pakistan Country Partnership Strategy of World Bank, which the government of Sindh also shared. The WB-funded water sector improvement project had been considered as a showcase project in Asia receiving the British Construction Award. Projects for improvements in education, skills development, and health as well as irrigated agriculture were among the important projects. Besides, the government was also working with the WB to improve public sector governance by better financial management, planning and monitoring of public sector resources.
Ministers Syed Murad Ali Shah, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Jam Mehtab Khan Dahar, chief secretary of Sindh Siddique Memon and others attended the meeting.
The CM after meeting and briefings hosted a dinner in the honor of Dr Kim which was attended by ministers, notables, chief secretary Siddique Memon, principal secretary Alamuddin Bullo and others.