ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has signed a financing agreement with the federal government to provide $442.4 million for uplift of social infrastructure in the rural areas of Punjab.
The Ministry of Economic Affairs and the World Bank signed the financing agreement of “Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project,” worth US$ 442.4 million, in Islamabad on Saturday, according to a press statement.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan appreciated the World Bank’s efforts by highlighting that this is a signature project which reflects the vision of the prime minister to invest in human capital and improve the living standard of the people.
The minister further stated that the event is a reflection of continued confidence by the international financial institutions (IFIs) on the government’s policies, economic reforms and people-centred programmes. He reiterated the commitment of the federal government to extend all possible support to the provincial governments in their efforts to invest in human capital by addressing challenges to health & education, building resilience, improving service delivery and promoting economic opportunities to ensure inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.
Country Director World Bank, Najy Benhassine ensured the World Bank’s continued financial and technical support to the government in achieving the priority development objectives and to promote inclusive and sustainable economic growth in the country.
Secretary EAD Noor Ahmed thanked the World Bank country team for extending their continuous support to the government to help achieve sustainable economic development in Pakistan.
This project aims to provide equitable and sustainable access to clean drinking water; improve sanitation; and reduce child stunting in Punjab. The project interventions will cover 2,000 villages including 2,000 main settlements and 8,000 small settlements in 16 districts of Punjab that are the poorest and have the worst social infrastructure and stunting issues.
In line with the vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan to ensure equitable and inclusive socio-economic opportunities, eight districts from South Punjab i.e. Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, DG Khan, Lodhran, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan and Rajanpur are included in the project.
Furthermore, eight other districts from Central and North Punjab i.e. Bhakkar, Chakwal, Chiniot, Jhang, Khushab, Mianwali, Pakpattan and Sarghodha are also included after due diligence. The project will directly impact the life of common man and create employment opportunities in the rural areas.
The government will invest in social infrastructure and improve service delivery to (i) provide potable water through cost-effective & sustainable investments; (ii) provide safely managed sanitation facilities to reduce the total faecal burden in the village environment; and (iii) raise awareness and promote behaviour change for better hygiene practices at the household & community level to promote health and ensure the sustainability and quality of the water source.
The project interventions will directly benefit six million rural people of Punjab and will support in reducing the incidence of stunting among children aged 0-3 (40 percent) in Punjab. – TLTP