The funding of the Asian Development Bank focus on SMEs, women entrepreneurship and eradication of poverty, said Asian Development Bank Vice President Shixin Chen.
Speaking to the business community at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday, he said that ADB was supporting incubation centers besides focusing on public-private partnership.
“ADB’s support is different from IMF,” he said. “The bailout from IMF is only available when there is a balance of payment crisis.”
On the other hand, the ADB’s supports countries on long term basis and focuses on specific areas such as infrastructure and power generation.
He noted that ADB and Pakistan had a longstanding partnership and the institution would continue to support the growth of the country’s economy.
Speaking on the occasion, LCCI President Mian Nauman Kabir urged the Asian Development Bank to extend cooperation for the establishment of an industrial estate for women entrepreneurs and SMEs in Pakistan.
He said that ADB had given $300 million loan to strengthen Pakistan’s financial sector.
He hoped that another $300 million loan, committed by ADB, would help promote macroeconomic stability by improving trade competitiveness and diversification of exports.
He stated that ADB supported Pakistan in swiftly dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
“This was the result of $500 million loan under the bank’s Covid-19 Active Response and Expenditure Support Program,” he said adding that the bank helped Pakistan deliver social protection programs in an exemplary way as well.
Although the third wave of the pandemic is well under control in Pakistan however, uncertainty continues to pose economic challenges to the country, he said.
Kabir said that Pakistan needed to ensure macroeconomic stability, fiscal consolidation and consistent improvement in the business environment. He called upon the government to promote high value-added exports, expand social spending, reinforce energy sector and implement structural changes to remain economically sustainable.
“We have great hopes attached with the government of Pakistan’s vision for development and improvement of economic management, building resilience, boosting competitiveness and private sector development,” he said.
ADB has signed new country partnership strategy for the period of 2021–2025 with Pakistan, he added.
Under this strategy, ADB would provide support for structural reforms and project assistance in key sectors, including energy, transport, irrigation, agriculture, urban infrastructure and services, small and medium-sized enterprises and social development.
Kabir told the ADB official that LCCI was playing a role in policy advocacy at almost all the high level forums.
The government of Pakistan has already signed a commitment of $2.05 billion with the ADB for the current fiscal year.
Another $400 million deal is expected during March-June 2022, he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 19th, 2022.