The government must take the recommendation of the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) to request development partners to diversify their portfolio to heart. Even in the year 2020, with assistance from development partners, we are yet to achieve the United Nations (UN) Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Reports from previous financial assistance packages reveals that construction and transportation have been given the lion’s share of developmental aid, while education, health, rural development and poverty reduction received little attention in the past five years.

These sectors are amongst the most crucial ones when it comes to human development. The development partners’ reports show that financial assistance packages continuously fail to identify sectors that need more funding than they are already receiving. However, now that EAD has identified the faults in the alignment of foreign-funded projects, the government must make the necessary changes so that sectors like health and education can get a fair share of aid.

The intention here is not to criticise the need to invest in sectors such as transportation infrastructure or energy – far from it. It was not too long ago when Pakistan was facing a crippling energy shortage and suffered from lost revenue as a result of unutilised trade routes. But now that a sufficient effort has been – and continues to be – made in these areas, we must look forward, particularly in light of the issues raised as a result of the pandemic.

Focusing on human development must become a guiding principle in the days ahead. Currently, schemes such as the IMF’s Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) and other assistance received from international institutions already comes earmarked for health. But once this has passed, we must not lose sight of what will always be important; the health and wellness of citizens.