ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday asked Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank (AIIB) to enhance its overall financing for the current fiscal year to $1 billion.

The Beijing-based multilateral bank is already arranged $750 million for Pakistan for the current year including about $500m for budgetary support and has now promised to consider Islamabad’s request for higher funding.

This came out at a meeting Finance Minister Miftah Ismail had with an AIIB delegation led by its Director General Investment Supee Teravaninthom on Friday. Senior officers from Finance Division also attended.

Informed sources said the delegation was here for consultations with Pakistan authorities ahead of finalisation of a payment schedule. It assured Islamabad that it had made arrangements for disbursement of $750m during the current year including $500m for budgetary support and the remaining $250m for programme financing.

The disbursements were, however, linked to larger portfolios of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank along with other bilateral lenders under two programmes — Resilient Institutions for Sustainable Economy (RISE) and Programme for Affordable Clean Energy (PACE) — meant for building resilient institutions and affordable and clean energy respectively.

The finance minister requested the AIIB delegation to enhance its funding to at least $1bn for this year. The delegation promised to take up the case with the bank management for approval.

The delegation was briefed about the budgetary and fiscal measures and apprised them of the targeted revenue and development goals for growing and sustaining the economic infrastructure. He also apprised the delegation of the devastation caused by the recent floods and its impact on the economy.

He told the delegation that Pakistan’s path to sustainable economic growth had become narrow due to the flood devastation but the government’s top priority was to sustain economic growth. He also updated the delegation on the progress of RISE and PACE programmes.

Ms Supee appreciated the economic policies and reforms of the government for the social uplift of the masses. She highlighted the role of AIIB in infrastructure development projects and investment and extended AIIB’s financial support and cooperation to Pakistan, an official statement said.

The World Bank-sponsored RISE is targeted at strengthening fiscal management, promoting transparency and private sector growth and undertaking foundational reforms in the energy sector to transition to low-carbon energy. It also aims to achieve macroeconomic stability and accelerate long-delayed policy reforms to set the course for a strong and competitive economy.

Likewise, PACE also focuses on measures to improve the financial viability of the power sector and support the country’s transition to low carbon energy through a reduction in generation casts, better targeting of subsidies and improving efficiencies through private sector participation.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2022

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