ISLAMABAD: Yong Ye, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) called on Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Economic Affairs, here on Thursday. During the meeting, Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Economic Affairs congratulated Yong Ye on assuming charge as Country Director in Pakistan.
Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Economic Affairs, appreciated the ADB Management and Board of Directors for their continued technical and financial support to the Government of Pakistan.
The Minister also acknowledged the ADB’s timely support for procurement of COVID Vaccine. The Minister reiterated that the Government is committed to provide maximum vaccination coverage to eligible population. Both the sides also discussed to mobilize additional financial resources for mass vaccination drive in the country.
The Minister shared the government’s vision and development priorities with ADB team. He highlighted the importance of improved road network and digital connectivity which are fundamental for service delivery and economic growth through enhanced mobility of individuals, farm to market access, trade of goods & services, exchange of information and e-commerce. The Minister also emphasized on capacity building of project executing agencies and staff for efficient project implementation. He stressed on using digital tools and satellites for effective project monitoring across the country.
Mr. Yong Ye, Country Director briefed the Minister on ADB’s portfolio in Pakistan. The Country Director highlighted that ADB has committed to provide US$ 6.3 billion under Country Operation Business Plan (2021-2023) to Pakistan. At present, 32 projects worth US$ 6.4 billion are under implementation in energy, road & transport, agriculture & irrigation, urban services, education, health and social protection.
The Country Director further informed that the Bank has recently negotiated a new program with the Government of Pakistan’s for providing US$ 600 million for Integrated Social Protection Development. This program will support the GoP’s efforts to implement high priorities from its Ehsaas Program (social protection and poverty reduction) in a coordinated, cohesive and systematic manner.
Under this program, institutional capacity for social protection and climate resilience will also be strengthened. Furthermore, access to primary & secondary education, health services and nutrition supplies will be enhanced for women (especially mothers), adolescents, and children of poor families. He also reiterated ADB’s commitment to continue its technical & financial support to the Government of Pakistan for priority areas.
The Minister for Economic Affairs also chaired a high-level meeting to review the financing needs for procurement of COVID-19 Vaccine. The meeting was attended by Secretary EAD, Chairman NDMA, Director General (Health) of MoNHSR&C, ADB Team and senior government officials. The Minister directed to ensure uninterrupted supply of vaccine and identify financing gap, if any. The ADB Team commended the Minister for Economic Affairs for his proactive approach and facilitation.