World Bank provides $442.4 million for social infrastructure uplift in rural Punjab

Web DeskWeb Editor

26th Jun, 2021. 04:29 pm
World Bank Ehsaas Cash Programme

KARACHI: The World Bank has provided $442.40 million to Pakistan for the development of social infrastructure in the rural areas of Punjab.

In this regard, the World Bank and the Ministry of Economic Affairs signed the financing agreement of the “Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation” project in Islamabad.

Noor Ahmed, secretary of the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and Najy Benhassine, country director of the World Bank, signed the financing agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

The project aims at providing equitable and sustainable access to clean drinking water; improve sanitation; and reduce child stunting in Punjab. The project interventions will cover 2,000 villages, including 2,000 main settlements and 8,000 small settlements in 16 districts of Punjab that are the poorest and have the worst social infrastructure and stunting issues.

In line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure equitable and inclusive socioeconomic opportunities, eight districts from South Punjab, i.e., Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur are included in the project.

Further, eight other districts from Central and North Punjab, i.e., Bhakkar, Chakwal, Chiniot, Jhang, Khushab, Mianwali, Pakpattan and Sarghodha are also included after due diligence. The project will directly impact the life of the common man and create employment opportunities in the rural areas.

The government will invest in social infrastructure and improve service delivery to provide potable water through the cost-effective and sustainable investments; provide safely managed sanitation facilities to reduce the total fecal burden in the village environment; and raise awareness and promote behaviour change for better hygiene practices at the household and community level to promote health and ensure the sustainability and quality of the water source.

The project interventions will directly benefit 6 million rural people of Punjab and would support in reducing the incidence of stunting among children aged zero to three (40 per cent) in Punjab.

Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan appreciated the World Bank’s efforts by highlighting that this is a signature project, which reflects the vision of the prime minister of Pakistan to invest in the human capital and to improve the living standard of the people.

Today’s event was a reflection of continued confidence by the international financial institutions (IFIs) on the Pakistan government’s policies, economic reforms and people-centered programmes he said, and reiterated the commitment of the federal government to extend all possible support to the provincial governments in their efforts to invest in the human capital by addressing challenges to health and education; building resilience, improving service delivery and promoting economic opportunities to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.

The Economic Affairs Division secretary thanked the World Bank team for extending their continuous support to the government of Pakistan to help achieve sustainable economic development in Pakistan.

Benhassine assured the World Bank’s continued financial and technical support to the government of Pakistan in achieving the priority development objectives and to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.

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