WB to continue initiatives for regional connectivity & trade, says Patchamuthu

ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has assured Pakistan that it will continue its initiatives for regional connectivity and trade.
Illango Patchamuthu, Director Strategy & Operations, South Asia Region of World Bank, gave this assurance during a meeting with Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan here at the Ministry of Economic Affairs on Saturday.
Patchamuthu shared during the meeting that the World Bank is committed to providing all possible technical and financial support for key priority areas of the government of Pakistan.
He said the World Bank would also continue its initiatives for regional connectivity and trade, adding the international lender has committed more than $5.3 billion for development projects in Afghanistan including education, health, agriculture, urban development and infrastructure.
Patchamuthu thanked the minister for economic affairs for his support in evacuating the WB’s staff and their families from Kabul and allowing temporary relocation despite the challenging situation in Afghanistan.
Melinda Good, Country Director Afghanistan, also commanded the government of Pakistan for providing PIA aircraft, on-arrival visa facility and hospitality to the World Bank’s staff.
During the meeting, the minister for economic affairs appreciated the WB’s continued support for socioeconomic development of Pakistan and key reform initiatives taken by the present government.
Separately, the Minister for Economic Affairs also chaired a meeting to review the restructuring of “Locust Emergency and Food Security Project” funded by the World Bank.
This project aims to support emergency actions to control the locust outbreak and prevent further spread across Pakistan. It will improve early warning systems by strengthening the Food Security & Nutrition Information System (FSNIS), which is a critical decision-making tool to prevent pest outbreaks and improve national food security.
The World Bank approved $200 million for this project in July, 2020. However, due to various measures taken by federal and provincial governments, the spread of locust of control successfully. Therefore, this project is being restructured to restore livelihoods in locust-affected areas, and strengthen Pakistan’s national food security monitoring & management system to prevent any potential threat in future.
The minister for economic affairs emphasised for early finalisation of the restructuring plan keeping in view the long-term approach as food security is essential for any country.
Rashid Langrial, Additional Secretary, Ministry of National Food Security & Research, apprised the minister of the latest status of restructuring. He further informed that the Ministry of National Food Security & Research has completed consultations with all the relevant stakeholders including the plant protection department and the restricting plan will be finalised shortly. – TLTP

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