World Bank approves $825 million package for Pakistan


WASHINGTON Dec 20 (TNS):The World Bank on Tuesday approved a package of $825 million to improve the national power transmission system in Pakistan, and enhance health and education service delivery by strengthening financing management and procurement systems.

The World Bank approved $425 million National Transmission Modernization Project-1 (NTMP-1) for national transmission line and $400 million Public Financial Management (PFM) reform package for enhanced health and education service delivery, according to a press release issued in Washington.

The NTMP-1 project will modernize the national transmission system to enable new power generation to reach consumers by upgrading, expanding and rehabilitating selected 500kV and 220kV substations and transmission lines.

“With a substantial volume of new generation now coming online, the strengthening of the transmission and distribution systems is critical,” says Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan. “The improved power supply will help meet the unserved demand from consumers and reduce the number and duration of power outages”.

NTMP-1 project will improve supply reliability and lower losses in the transmission network and will also modernize the information and communication technology infrastructure and strengthen financial and accounting systems of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company using information technology.

This will result in more efficient operation and business decision-making processes, higher productivity and upgraded staff skills.

The NTMP is financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, part of the World Bank Group that lends to credit-worthy low and middle income countries. It is a fixed-spread loan with a maturity of 21 years, including a grace period of 6 years.

The $400 million PFM project will help address problems caused by inefficient public financial management that contribute to Pakistan’s weak performance in health and education sector. There has been substantial increase in financial resources but it fail to reach clinics and schools in time.

PFM reform program will address these challenges through the enactment of a robust public finance management law, which will lead to decentralization of payment and empower the front-line service delivery managers, the statement said.

The program will also focus on strong cash management; timely and comprehensive reporting; improved federal-provincial coordination; timely release of funds; streamlined payroll and pension systems; efficient and transparent procurement, and user-friendly reports for citizen engagement.

“The public financial management challenges undermine the delivery of health and education services to the population”, said Illango. “The new program will support the government to strengthen their public financial management and make it more transparent and accountable by introducing new aspects like, social audit of public expenditures by beneficiaries.”

The PFM reform program is financed by the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poor, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years.