The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday announced that the regional bank will provide $2.7 billion in approved financing to Pakistan during the outgoing calendar year.
In a tweet, ADB also announced that under the recently approved Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) 2020-2022, it will increase average lending to the country to $2.4bn a year — showing a whopping increase from the $1.4bn on average from 2015 to 2018.
According to the ADB, it will leverage the country’s lending through the mobilisation of co-financing and funding from other sources, including regional concessional resources.
“The new COBP will support Pakistan’s development goals and complement efforts by other development partners,” it added.
On Monday, the Manila-based lending agency said it approved a $200 million loan to the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
The amount is additional financing issued by the bank for the social development project which supports more than 5 million eligible families across the country through over $3.6 billion in total cash transfers so far.
The management of the development bank has said that it will continue to support cash transfers as well as help BISP implement institutional strengthening measures.
ADB Director of Public Management Tariq Niazi said, “social protection programs like the BISP are crucial to ensure that the poorest segments of the population do not go further into poverty.”
The ADB was committed to helping the Pakistani government “implement alternative modalities for social protection and poverty reduction”, he added.
The ADB official noted that these initiatives included asset transfer programmes that promote improved human capital and reduce inter-generational poverty.
According to the press release, ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang also weighed in on the loan, saying that the additional financing would support further institutional strengthening.
“A policy research unit will also be established within BISP to help monitor and improve the performance of ongoing programmes and design new cost-effective and evidence-based initiatives,” read the press release.
It further added, “these include programmes such as poverty graduation programs and conditional cash transfers for health and nutrition in line with global best practices.”