ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has approved a loan of USD 800 million to cash-strapped Pakistan, financing schemes on clean energy and human capital development, according to a media report on Wednesday.
The loan amount would be utilised for schemes that are not covered due to the budget deficit for 2021-22 fiscal, The Express Tribune newspaper reported.
The board of directors of World Bank approved financing for two programmes -- Pakistan Program for Affordable and Clean Energy (PACE) and Securing Human Investments to Foster Transformation (SHIFT-II).
Citing the World Bank documents, the newspaper reported that the board approved the USD 400 million PACE loan only after the government accepted at least six pre-conditions -- ensuring reduction in power generation cost, competitive bidding for all new power generation projects, shift to clean energy, Rs1.
95-per-unit increase in electricity tariffs, reduction in circular debt and appointing independent boards of power distribution companies.
The PACE programme prioritises actions needed to initiate critical power sector reforms focused on reducing power generation costs, better targeting of subsidies and tariffs for consumers.
The World Bank also approved USD 400 million for SHIFT-II which supports a federal structure to strengthen basic service delivery for human capital accumulation.
The programme would help improve health and education services, increase income-generation opportunities for the poor, and promote inclusive economic growth, said the World Bank.
The SHIFT-II reforms increase budget reliability for sustainable financing of child immunisation and quality primary healthcare programmes, promote student attendance - especially for children who are out of school due to COVID-19-related closures - and support data-driven decision-making.
"The reforms underpinning PACE and SHIFT can contribute to facilitating sustainable investments and generate welfare gains for those most in need," said World Bank Country Director, Pakistan, Najy Benhassine.
Pakistan's economic woes have further worsened due to the coronavirus pandemic and Prime Minister Imran Khan's government is arranging finances from world bodies, including the International Monetary Fund, to tide over the crisis.
Pakistan has already planned to take USD 17 billion in foreign loans in the next fiscal year.