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Pakistan mulls infrastructure bank

The initiative, supported by the World Bank, aims to promote private financing and investments in domestic projects.

Pakistan is planning to establish its own infrastructure financier, in cooperation with the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. 

The proposed Pakistan Infrastructure Bank would seek to complement the government’s infrastructure initiatives by catalysing private financing and investments in infrastructure projects in the country, said Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Pakistan’s Finance Minister. 

The World Bank will strive to support the government’s efforts by helping it improve data collection and rebase national accounts, so that the country’s leaders get a more accurate picture of the economy, it noted. 

The multilateral said the country has made significant progress towards macroeconomic stability over the past three years. “The fiscal deficit has shrunk from 8 percent to below 5 percent, international reserves have tripled to over $18 billion, and the rate of growth has increased by a full percentage point to 4.7 percent.” It also pointed out that investment levels remain very low, at around 15 percent of GDP for both the public and private sectors. 

The World Bank now has a portfolio of 29 investment projects in Pakistan, representing total commitments of $5.4 billion. In 2016, the multilateral pledged nearly $2.3 billion to the country.

“The government is making all necessary efforts to consolidate the economic gains made in the last three and a half years, and achieve higher, sustainable and inclusive economic growth,” said the Finance Minister. 

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council, the government’s central planning agency, last week approved 15 project proposals in the transport, communications, energy and water sectors, with investment costs totalling 261 billion Pakistani rupees ($2.5 billion; €2.32 billion).