ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar Tuesday said that government will work closely with the provinces to firm up their priority for provision of sanitation and clean drinking water.

Chairing a meeting regarding participation of Pakistan in Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) high level meeting to be held on April 11 in Washington DC, he said that water not only affects our social life but it is also essential for economic development of the country.

He said that for sustainable growth in industrial and agricultural sectors we have to conserve our water. He said that Pakistan faces huge financial cost due to lack of sanitation and clean drinking water adding that the cost is estimated to be 4 per cent of our GDP.

The finance minister said that Pakistan would appreciate any programme, initiative that provides assistance in these fields and harmonizes donors' assistance with our own priorities.

Secretary Climate Change Raja Hasan Abbas briefed the minister about enhanced commitments of the provincial governments in water and sanitation sectors.

He said, collectively Rs 47.3 billion is being spent by all governments during the current financial year. Of which Punjab Province has allocated Rs 19 billion and Sindh has allocated 11.3 billion.

The secretary informed that the ministry is in touch with the provincial governments and donors for universal access to water and sanitation in line with the vision 2025.

He also informed that the provinces have been directed to give time-lines of their plans in consonance with vision 2025.

He informed that the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is a UN driven global partnership between developing countries, donors, multi-lateral agencies, civil society and other development partners and it aims to achieve universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking water.