Pakistan locks $3.4 billion in budgetary support from Asian Development Bank

The prime minister's adviser on finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh can be seen in this picture addressing a news conference in Islamabad earlier this month. (AFP)
Updated 15 June 2019

Pakistan locks $3.4 billion in budgetary support from Asian Development Bank

  • De facto finance minister Shaikh says met ADB director general on Saturday
  • $2.2 billion of agreed package to be released in this fiscal year

ISLAMABAD: The prime minister’s adviser on finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said on Saturday the Asian Development Bank would provide $3.4 billion in budgetary support to help stabilize Pakistan’s slowing economy.
Pakistan unveiled a tax-heavy budget with a total outlay of Rs8.2 trillion last Tuesday, weeks after it reached a staff level agreement with the International Monetary Fund for a $6 billion bailout deal.
In a series of tweets, Shaikh said he had met ADB director general Werner Liepach on Saturday and finalized the budgetary support deal.
“$2.2 billion will be released this fiscal year, starting in the first quarter of FY 2019-20. This will help the reserve position and the external account,” the de facto finance minister said. “This support is in addition to the project portfolio with an estimated disbursement of upto $1 billion in FY 2019-20.”
The IMF deal signed last month, which still needs approval by the IMF board in Washington, would be the 13th such bailout since the late 1980s.
Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government came to power last year determined to avoid another bailout and initially sought billions of dollars in funding from friendly countries including China, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
But with inflation at a five-year high, the rupee losing a third of its value over the past year, and foreign exchange reserves barely enough to cover two months of exports, it was forced to turn to the IMF.


Women hopeful as Pakistan parliamentary committee approves bill granting fathers paternal leave

Updated 30 October 2020

Women hopeful as Pakistan parliamentary committee approves bill granting fathers paternal leave

  • Parental leave bill was passed by Senate in January and will be voted by lawmakers in the coming weeks
  • The regulation will apply to all institutions in Islamabad if passed and pave the way for its nationwide implementation 

ISLAMABAD: Women lawmakers and activists said this week they welcomed approval by a National Assembly committee of a bill which would allow fathers to take one month of paid time off on the birth of a child.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Law and Justice this week approved the parental leave bill which was passed by the upper house of parliament in January. Lawmakers are expected to vote on the law in the coming weeks.
About 90 out of 187 countries around the world now offer statutory paid paternity leave, usually for a few days or weeks.
“Extremely happy and immensely proud that this important bill moved by me in 2018 has finally been passed by the NA standing committee on Law and Justice after their passage from the Senate,” Senator Quratulain Marri from the opposition Pakistan People’s Party, who initiated the motion in the upper house, told Arab News on Thursday.
In accordance with the bill, she said, at the time of the birth of the first three children, “the mother will get six months, four months and three months leave respectively and the father will get 30 days each time.”
If passed, she said, the regulation would apply to all government and non-government institutions in Islamabad, and pave the way for it to be implemented nationwide.
“I am hoping that the provinces will replicate the same once it is passed from the National Assembly in the coming weeks,” Marri said. “This might not seem like a very big step at this point of time but I think it’s important to change the mindset and introduce the concept of paternity leave and father’s bonding with the child and will prove to be a very important step.”
The NA committee’s chairman, Riaz Fatyana, said the bill would allow fathers to look after their wives after childbirth.
“This will be a good opportunity for male parent, father, who can look after his newborn child and wife,” he told Arab News.
A parliamentarian from the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party, Naureen Ibrahim, said if the regulation were passed, it would help men learn to share childcaring responsibilities with women.
“It will be beneficial especially for working women,” she said. “They will get longer leave and also the father will learn about sharing the responsibility of parenting. Fathers will also take care of the child and will realize the difficulties which are faced by wives.”
Women’s rights activist Farzana Bari said the new law would help change the mindset of childcare being an exclusively female responsibility.
“There has been a changing concept of masculinity in Pakistan in recent time,” she said. “Many young educated males have started sharing the responsibility of childcare and domestic work. It [new bill] will be very helpful for them.”