ISLAMABAD

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim arrived Pakistan on Monday for a two-day visit to meet with its leaders and stakeholders to find out how best to support making the country’s economic reforms more ambitious.
Kim will discuss how to make the most of Pakistan’s untapped economic potential, the advantages offered by a young population, and the opportunities from its geographical position near huge markets. He will meet private sector representatives to encourage them to strengthen their role in economic development to ensure job creation for youth. He will also meet temporarily displaced people, students, and the provincial leadership.
“The government has stabilized the economy and it now wants to raise economic growth in order to create jobs for millions”, says Patchamuthu Illangovan, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan . “The president will meet Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his economic team, provincial chief ministers and the private sector to see what more support the World Bank Group can provide to Pakistan and its people in ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity.”
Kim is accompanied by Annette Dixon, Vice President for the South Asia Region of the World Bank, Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Vice President for Global Client Services of International Finance Corporation, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, and Jan Walliser, World Bank’s Vice President for Equitable Growth, Finance, and Institutions.
The World Bank’s program in Pakistan is governed by its Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) agreed with the government. The World Bank Pakistan portfolio has 26 investment lending projects under implementation with a total net commitment of $4.99 billion. To date, we have committed over $5.6 billion in Pakistan , including $1.2 billion during the 2015 fiscal year. IFC’s advisory services program in Pakistan is one of its largest in the region, with 13 active projects and a funding commitment of over $20 million.
Meanwhile, an official of the Punjab government told this scribe that the delegation will also meet civil society, parliamentarians to discuss progress on projects started in improving its economic performance, and poverty reduction strategy. Foolproof security arrangements will be ensured for the top level delegation, the officer claimed.
Besides meeting the Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif, the WB Chief is also likely to meet to government top functionaries. After the departure of the president Dr Kim, the delegation will continue meetings with the Chief Secretary and secretaries to Local government, Housing, Planning and Development and the Chairman P&D Board.
The WB delegation will also likely to visit the cities where its funded programs are in progress like Multan, Faisalabad, Gujranwala, and Rawalpindi other than provincial metropolis Lahore. The bank is funding in different sectors in Punjab to improve civic facilities like P&D, Water&Sanitation, and Local government, E&T etc.
An officer said that at present there is total over four billion dollars WB funding in different projects in the country.
The Punjab government successfully completed a major chunk of Lands Records Computerization program across Punjab worth Rs 12 billion with the WB funding. Moreover, Punjab Skills Development over 50m US dollars, Punjab Public Management Reform Program worth 50m dollars, Education sector reforms like staff development etc are also active.
The (Punjab Cities Governance Improvement Program) PCGIP comprises Integrated Rolling plans for Development and Asset Management implemented by each CDG. It also supports procurement performance practices set up at CDGs through implementation of the Provincial procurement rules. The implementation of Punjab Procurement Rules is also monitored under the project. Moreover, revenue collection, Public disclosure and Access to Information mechanism implemented.
Mechanism for complaint monitoring and grievance redress related to municipal services by CDGs in accordance with the provisions of local government laws.
The WB President has had many meetings with Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif during his current tenure including his meetings in New York and Washington.
Responding a query the officer told that the WB delegation visit will prove to be an endorsement of the reforms initiated by the PMLN government and acknowledgement of economic stability in the province. He said that the WB president was visiting Pakistan after visit of the IMF team and WTO delegation is also expected soon. The top monetary institution heads’ regular visits reflect their trust on the current political regime. The officer refused to discuss privatization of public sector assets in Punjab. He said that the transfer of directorate of staff development and over 5000 public sector schools to the private sector was not part of the privatization.
He also refused to endorse the World Bank warning on sovereign guarantees against $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) investments. He said that the bank was not unhappy over Chine investment.