WB okays $304mn for Punjab resource management plan

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved $304 million in financing for Punjab Resource Improvement and Digital Effectiveness Programme (PRIDE) on Friday.
The programme supports efficiencies in public resource management that generate savings and create fiscal space for growth-generating investments in the Punjab province.
“The PRIDE programme is integral to the World Bank’s whole-of-country approach in helping Pakistan strengthen public financial management systems at the federal and provincial levels,” said Najy Benhassine, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan in a statement issued by the Bank.
“Punjab is the largest province, accounting for 55 percent of the population and about 60 percent of the economy, so improving quality and access to public services is key to Pakistan’s development.”
The PRIDE Program will support the government of Punjab in strengthening fiscal risk management and budget formulation to ensure reliable resource allocation for public services. The program will improve revenue collection by increasing registration of businesses and real estate, and simplifying tax administration processes such as registration, filing, payment, refunds and appeals.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the program also focuses on deploying technology-based solutions to enhance public service delivery and increase access to online services for firms and individuals. This will support Punjab in digitizing key government services to streamline processes and increase efficiencies in the public service delivery.
“With prolonged restrictions on face-to-face services due to COVID-19, the pride program will help the provincial government expand its existing citizen feedback model and accelerate the use of technology for revenue mobilization and public procurement,” said Akmal Minallah, Task Team Leader for the programme.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has said that the government has devised a mechanism for cash transfer to support 16 million deserving families during testing times.
Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh was speaking at a virtual meeting with Managing Director, World Bank Axel Van Trotsenburg and Vice President Hartwing Schafer.
The World Bank appreciated the reform agenda of the present government and reiterated commitment to support Pakistan through IDA 2020 during Covid-19 crisis.
The adviser on finance appreciated the role of the World Bank in extending assistance to Pakistan to provide much-needed fiscal space to fight Covid-19 pandemic effectively. – TLTP

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