Pakistan seeks US and ADB support for financial reserves
Islamabad: The government is expecting massive disbursement of funds from the United States and Asian Development Bank (ADB) so as to fight with the current situation of depleting foreign exchange reserves and currency devaluation.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar had a meeting with US ambassador Richard G. Olson in Islamabad and sought expedited reimbursement of dues on account of Coalition Support Fund (CSF) to help Islamabad improve its foreign exchange reserves position.
“The ambassador assured the finance minister that he would convey Pakistan’s position to the United States government”, an official statement said.
According to a senior government official, “An amount of $381 million will be transferred to Pakistan during the current month under CSF.”
These bills are outstanding against the United States for the services Islamabad provided to Nato forces in Afghanistan for October-December 2012 period.
An amount of about $1.5 billion has since been built up for Jan-Dec 2013 but Pakistan has so far billed the US only for first two quarters of the current calendar year i.e. January-June 2013.
Moreover, the government is coordinating with the ADB and expecting release of about $40m on account of Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP) during the current month. The disbursement is subject to resolution of audit objections on the performance and utilisation of BISP funds.
Dar and Olson also discussed matters relating to bilateral economic issues, particularly Pakistan’s energy needs. “The United States has a strong sense of the energy crisis in Pakistan and is willing to support Pakistan in overcoming the crisis”, Mr Olson was quoted in an official statement issued by the Ministry of Finance.
Pakistan and Iran had agreed last month during a visit of Prime Minister’s security and foreign affairs adviser Sartaj Aziz to resume talks on the project that remained suspended for almost six months.
An official statement said Mr Dar and Olson also exchanged views on 1,320-MW Jamshoro Coal Power Plant. The ambassador was told that the government was confident about the approval of a loan by the ADB board for the Jamshoro Plant which will accelerate the efforts of the PML-N government to add power to national grid based on cheaper fuel.
The total cost of the Jamshoro project is estimated at $2.6bn for which the Islamic Development Bank, Exim Bank of China and Japan International Cooperation Agency are also expected to contribute about $1bn while remaining funding would be arranged by the government at its own. The project is targeted to be completed by 2016.