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Public-private partnerships: Pakistan, ADB agree to push for more investment

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the government of Pakistan have agreed to chart new ways to pursue more robust and inclusive ADB investments in Pakistan.
In this regard, public-private partnerships (PPPs) will be scaled up to tap private sector resources and meet the country’s rising infrastructure development needs.
The agreement was reached during a three-day consultative workshop on ADB Country Programming and Public-Private Partnerships in Pakistan at Bourbon, stated a press release on Monday.
Development opportunities and projects in pipeline were discussed as part of the ADB’s Country Operation Business Plan for the period 2019-21.
Speaking on the occasion, ADB Country Director for Pakistan Xiaohong Yang and Office of Public-Private Partnerships Director Takeo Koike underscored the ADB’s continued commitment to supporting Pakistan in achieving its key development goals outlined in the ADB-Pakistan Country Partnership Strategy.
Xiaohong called for closer coordination and consultation between the ADB and its partners in order to ensure better and smarter investment programmes to better respond to Pakistan’s evolving priorities.
The ADB pours money into education and health sectors in addition to investments in energy, transport, agriculture and institutional reforms.
United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) Head of Economic Growth Group Patricia Seex appreciated the ADB and Pakistan’s efforts to create an enabling environment and effective regulatory framework to step up economic growth to cater for the growing labour force and achieve middle-income status for the country.
Pakistan’s public investment in infrastructure has dropped short of the estimated annual need of 7.6% of gross domestic product (GDP). The country needs to invest over $20 billion per year in critical infrastructure.
The ADB is already providing $200 million in loans ($100 million each) for projects supporting public-private partnerships in Punjab and Sindh. The investment is to augment and assist efforts of the provincial governments for increasing commercial viability of projects as well as for mobilising more private-sector participation.
ADB loans are supplemented by the DFID through a $24-million grant and $4-million technical assistance.