ADB Approves $1 billion in emergency budget support to Pakistan

Staff members of the Asian Development Bank step out of the Manila-based lender's headquarters on February 17, 2009. (AFP)
Updated 06 December 2019

ADB Approves $1 billion in emergency budget support to Pakistan

  • Pakistan expected to get $3.4 billion in budget support during Fiscal Year FY 20
  • IMF bailout program is expected to catalyze at least $38 billion financing from Pakistan’s development partners

KARACHI: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $1 billion loan in immediate budget support to Pakistan to shore up the country’s public finances and help strengthen a slowing economy, the ADB announced on Friday.
The quick dispersing Special Policy-Based Loan is part of a comprehensive multi-donor economic reform program led by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to stabilize Pakistan’s economy after a major deterioration in its fiscal and financial position in mid-2018 caused growth to slump and threatened progress in alleviating poverty.
The Asian lender, in June this year, had announced to extend a loan of $3.4 billion to Pakistan for budgetary support to help with reforms and stabilization of the economy, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh had informed in mid of June 2019.
Pakistan was expecting $2.2 billion to be released this fiscal year FY 2019-20 to build up the country’s reserve position and the external account.
ADB’s financing was approved after the government implemented a series of IMF-supported reforms and actions to improve its current account deficit, strengthen its revenue base, and protect the poor against the social impact of the economic crisis.
“ADB is committed to providing wide-ranging support to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and reduce the risk of external economic shocks,” said ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Mr. Werner Liepach, in a statement issued from Manila, Philippines. “These funds will meet the government’s emergency financing needs to prevent significant adverse social and economic impacts and lay the foundations for a return to balanced growth.”
Pakistan is facing significant economic challenges on the back of a large balance of payments gap and critically low foreign exchange reserves together with weak and unbalanced growth. While the country’s economy has a history of boom and bust economic cycles, it reached a tipping point in 2018 after foreign investment shrank sharply in an uncertain political and global economic environment and the ongoing poor performance of state-owned enterprises caused public debt to reach unsustainable levels, the statement added.
In July, the IMF approved a three-year $6 billion Extended Fund Facility (EFF) to finance the government’s economic reform program that aims to put Pakistan’s economy on the path of sustainable and inclusive growth. The EFF is expected to catalyze at least $38 billion in financing from Pakistan’s development partners.
ADB has committed to provide a total of $2.1 billion in policy-based lending during fiscal year 2019–2020 to support the reform program, according to the statement.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion.


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.”