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Senate body discusses EFF with IMF, WB projects for agriculture

July 19, 2014

The Senate Standing Committees on Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics and Privatization meeting was informed on Friday that so far Pakistan had undergone three successful quarterly reviews and has received a total of SDR 1,440 million (US $ 2,209) million amount in four installments under Extended Fund Facility (EFF) program with International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The meeting was held here under the chairmanship of Senator Nasreen Jalil on Friday.

The committee discussed in detail briefing regarding loan approved by the World Bank for the agriculture sector and the programme given by the government to IMF for improving the economic condition of the country.

The meeting was attended by Senator Nasreen Jalil (Committee Chairperson),Senator Islamuddin Shaikh,Senator Kalsoom Perveen,Senator Sardar Fateh Muhammad Muhammad Hassani and Secretary Finance Dr. Waqar Masood Khan and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Muhammad Saleem Sethi.

In the meeting, Secretary Economic Affairs Division Muhammad Saleem Sethi briefed the committee members on ongoing World Bank agriculture support strategy for productivity focused on three areas, which first technology driven productivity, improved water management and revamping of marketing system.

He said that the agriculture support consists of three projects, Punjab irrigated agriculture productivity

improvement program project, Balochistan small scale irrigation project, Sindh water sector improvement project.

The Secretary briefed the committee and said that Pakistan entered EFF program with IMF for SDR 4.393 billion (US$ 2,209) million in four installments.

He said that first installment was made available after signing of the agreement in September 2013 and the remaining three installments of SDR 360 million each were received after successful completion of quarterly reviews in December 2013, March 2014 and July 2014 respectively.

He added that the program possesses a comprehensive longer repayments period of 4 Â and 10 years with repayments in 12 equal semi annual installments.

The Secretary further informed the committee that the Pakistan has concluded the EFF program with the IMF to attend various emergent economic issues including substandard economic performance during the past few years where GDP growth averaged only 3% over the past five years, in-sufficient to significantly improve living standards are fully absorb the growing labour force with a rising inflation rate of over 8%.

He further told them that domestic private investment dropped from 14% of GDP in 2007-08 to an estimated 10.9% of GDP in 2012-13 with weak private sector credit growth contributed to the decline.

He added that the State Bank of Pakistan gross reserve dropped to US$ 6 billion under one an half month of imports as of ended June 2013.

He said that during 2012-13, fiscal deficit ( Excluding grants) was over eight and half percent of GDP, well above the original budget target of 4.7 % of GDP due to slippage on both revenues and expenditures.

He added that the review short fall of over 1% of GDP relative to the 2012- 13 budgets was largely explained by the under performance in tax collections in the previous fiscal year in adequate tax administration and a slow down in economic activity,higher expenditure of over 2% of GDP reflected higher energy subsidies.

The Secretary said that energy sector remained saddled with considerable problems that have led to unreliable electricity supply and large fiscal costs,including price distortions, insufficient collections,costly and poorly targeted subsidies, inadequate governance and low efficiency in energy supply and distribution, regulatory inadequacies and in- sufficient investment in new energy production and modernization.

As a result, he said power outrage (loadshedding) averaged around 8 to 10 hour a day, constraining production and employment, while output losses were estimated at 2% of GDP annually.

The secretary also highlighted the objectives and elements of EFF program for the strengthening of national economy.

He further informed the committee that the World Bank (WB) agriculture

support strategy for productivity focused on three areas of technology driven productivity, enhancement focused on diversification towards high value crops, improved water management centered on conservation and revamping of marketing system.

He said that technical assistance for agriculture and livestock production was largely consistent across the stakeholder groups.

He added that currently the World Bank is supporting various agriculture and irrigation projects to improve agriculture productivity in the country.

The ongoing project, he said are Punjab irrigated Agriculture productivity improvement program project,Balochistan small scale irrigation project and Sindh Water Sector Improvement Project,while another pipeline project is Sindh Agriculture Growth Projects (SAGP).

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Source: Balochistan Times (Pakistan)

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