Pakistan, World Bank sign agreements $918 million

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ISLAMABAD. The Government of Pakistan and World Bank signed three loan agreements worth US$ 918 million to help support revenue mobilisation and higher education development in the country on Tuesday.

The agreements were signed by Secretary of Economic Affairs Division Noor Ahmed on behalf of the federal government and World Bank Country Director Patchamuthu Illangovan while the representatives of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa signed their respective project agreements.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh witnessed the signing ceremony.

The World Bank will provide US$400 million for the programme ‘Pakistan Raises Revenue Program’ which is aimed at contributing to a sustainable increase in domestic revenue by broadening the tax base and facilitating compliance.

The programme’s targeted results include; increasing Pakistan’s tax to GDP ratio to 17 per cent; increasing the number of active taxpayers to 3.5 million; reducing the compliance burden of paying taxes and improving the efficiency of customs controls.

The Higher Education Development in Pakistan worth US$400 million would support research excellence in strategic sectors of the economy, improve teaching and learning and strengthening governance in the higher education sector.

The project would finance for nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors; supporting decentralised higher education institutes for improved teaching and learning; equipping students and higher education institutions with modern technology; higher education management information system and data drive services; and capacity building, project management and monitoring and evaluation.

The third agreement related to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Revenue Mobilisation and Resource Management Program worth US$118 million would increase the collection of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s own-source revenues and improve the management of public resources.

This objective would be achieved through efficient revenue mobilization; effective public resource management and capacity building to enhance e-government functionality.

The programme would help the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to mobilise its own source revenue to address the constraint of limited fiscal space for investment and public service provision and efficient and strategic use of the province’s financial resources.

Later, the World Bank country director held a meeting with the finance adviser where Shaikh thanked the World Bank team for extending continuous support to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve the sustainable economic development of the country.

He appreciated the World Bank’s relationship with Pakistan and desired the programs implementing agencies to put their best efforts to implement their respective programmes to help to achieve the objectives of the program.