ADB to give Pakistan $2.1bln in reforms support this year

Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Pakistan held a series of country consultations in Islamabad to formulate a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), on July 9, 2019. (Photo Courtesy ADB Twitter)
Updated 10 July 2019

ADB to give Pakistan $2.1bln in reforms support this year

  • Plans indicative lending of up to $10bn for various development projects in the next five years
  • Partnership strategy will be aligned with government's growth vision, country director says

ISLAMABAD: As part of plans to support Pakistan’s reform and development programs, officials from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said on Monday that the lender plans to provide $2.1 billion out of $3.4 billion funds during the current fiscal year.
Representatives from the ADB and the government held a series of meetings in Islamabad on Monday to formulate a new Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) which will guide the lender’s engagement in Pakistan from 2020 to 2024.
In a statement released on Monday, ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan, Xiaohong Yang said that the partnership strategy will prioritize innovation, analytical support, public–private partnership, and the application of new technologies.
“ADB plans to provide about $2.1 billion out of $3.4 billion funds to support Pakistan’s reform and development programs during fiscal year 2019–2020,” Yang said.
ADB has plans to support Pakistan with indicative lending of up to $10 billion for various development projects and programs during the next five years, the statement added.
“ADB’s partnership strategy will be aligned with the government’s development vision and policies, and is expected to introduce new approaches to development financing in urban services, energy security, transport, agriculture and water resources, education, trade, and tourism,” Yang said.
Nadeem Babar, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister for the Petroleum Division discussed the implementation of the energy sector reforms during the meetings.
Representatives from the provincial governments of Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan also attended the consultations and outlined key features of their development and growth strategies. 
Babar, for his part, said that the new strategy is being formulated “at an important juncture.”
“ADB’s concessionary and result-oriented assistance will strengthen the government’s efforts to address fiscal imbalances in the energy sector through meaningful and robust reform programs and development projects,” he said, adding that the consultations will “signify the enduring partnership between the government and the people of Pakistan and ADB.”
Pakistan became a founding member of the ADB in 1966 and since then has received $32 billion in project assistance. “The country has since been working with ADB to strengthen its key infrastructure, social services, and economic growth,” the statement said.


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

Updated 3 min 59 sec ago

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.”