ISLAMABAD - Minister for Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh has stated that World Bank has allocated an unprecedented amount of $1.8 billion for Pakistan’s development projects, mainly in energy sector for current year.

Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said it after holding a meeting with Vice President of World Bank Isabel Guerrero. Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman also attended the meeting, which took place during IMF-World Bank annual spring gathering of economic leaders from around the world. The World Bank has also agreed to assist with financing for a multi-year Dasu dam, to be built in Kohistan area on Indus River with a 1,500 MW power generation capacity. The World Bank Board has already approved power generation enhancement project.

“This is a big sign of confidence in Pakistan’s ability to accomplish development for its people that the World Bank is allocating unprecedented amount in one year,” Dr Shaikh said. The amount, follows last year’s $1.2 billion assistance, and will be spent on upgradation and completion of development projects in energy and water sectors as well as infrastructure, social and reforms programmes. The World Bank Vice President was appreciative of Pakistan’s economic performance in these difficult times of global economic and regional challenges,” the finance minister told.

The World Bank leader expressed satisfaction with the measures Islamabad has taken to enhance its revenue generation (which has increased by 25 per cent over the last nine months), the continuing strong performance of the external sector, both exports and remittances and a healthy 4 percent GDP growth expected this year.

For his part, Dr Shaikh acknowledged the World Bank’s sustained cooperation with Pakistan, calling the financial institution a reliable development partner of Pakistan. He particularly thanked Vice President Isabel Guerrero’s leadership and the dedication of World Bank Pakistan country team headed by Executive Director Javed Talat.

Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman said it is heartening to see the international financial institutions’ expression of faith in Pakistan’s commitment to development. “This signified that both international community and financial institutions have growing confidence in Pakistan’s dedication and ability to realize development for its people,” she said.

The meeting was also attended by top Pakistani economic managers including Secretary Finance Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary Economic Affairs Division Dr Waqar Masood, Governor State Bank Yaseen Anwar, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Dr Nadeem, Economic Minister at the Pakistani embassy in Washington Mohsin Mushtaq Chandana, Executive Director for Pakistan at the World Bank Talat Javed and Pakistan Director for IMF Saleem Sethi.