KARACHI            -       The World Bank and Sindh gov­ernment have agreed to launch $145 million Sindh COVID-19 Response programme and Locust control project in the province.

This decision was taken in a meeting between Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and World Bank Country Di­rector Patchamuthu Illangovan through a video link, said a statement on Monday.

The former participated from CM House Karachi while the latter along with his team participated from his Islam­abad office.

The Chief Minister was as­sisted by Minister Energy Im­tiaz Shaikh, CM Coordinator Haris Gazdar, Chairman P&D Muhammad Waseem, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, Secretary Energy Musadiq Khan, Sec­retary Finance Hassan Naqvi and Secretary Investment Na­jam Shah.

At outset of the meeting Sindh Chief Minister Syed Mu­rad Ali Shah said that his gov­ernment with technical and financial support of the World Bank wanted to launch COV­ID-19 Impact programme.

He added that for the pur­pose resource mobilization through diversion of funds/restructuring, repurposing and realigning World Bank portfo­lio would be required.

He added that the World Bank Team was also working on the high frequency of COVID impact monitoring system to support government decision-making.

The Chief Minister said that Karachi specific monitoring system was being developed but “I want a high impact CO­VID Monitoring System should be developed for the entire province,” he suggested the World Bank.

According to Syed Murad Ali Shah, his government has planned to disinfect all the pub­lic places, bus stands/stops, of­fices, proper cleaning of roads and public areas, cleaning of storm water drains and nullahs, establishment of two garbage transfer sta­tions and two landfill sites in the city.

The World Bank chief ap­proved the proposal and said that Sindh government could use funds $135 million from its different projects by diverting the amount until the project was formally approved from the concerned forums.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the on-going crisis of Coronavirus has badly affect­ed economic activities in the province.

The small and medium enter­prises have faced considerably losses, therefore his govern­ment has worked out a plan to extend small loans and finan­cially support the daily wagers.

The world bank assured the chief minister that they would support the Sindh government to revive economic activities in the province and rehabilitate the daily wagers through a sep­arate programme and it would be made a part of COVID-19 Response programme.

The Sindh chief minister said that after COVID-19 another threat of locus attacks on the standing crops had emerged. Locust swarms have already damaged one third of the crop­ping area of the province.

He said that his government wanted the World Bank to ex­tend its technical and finan­cial support to the provincial so that crops and desert areas could be sprayed at the earli­est, otherwise locust swarm attacks would destroy the crops and thereby food securi­ty issued would develop in the province.

The World Bank approved $10 million for the Locust Con­trol Programme and advised the Sindh to divert the funds from Sindh Agriculture Growth Project and start locust control programme. The World Bank would arrange more funds for the agriculture growth project

The meeting decided to constitute a team of World bank and P&D Department under its Chairman Muham­mad Waseem to smoothen the way for restricting, re-purposing and realigning the World Bank portfolio.

The chief minister and the World Bank country director also discussed renewable en­ergy projects. The World Bank would support Sindh in devel­oping solar and wind power projects.

Imtiaz Shaikh briefed the meeting about the on-going re­newable projects and also dis­cussed the options of hybrid renewable power projects.