ISLAMABAD, October 26
(Internews): The lifting of sanctions against
Pakistan has laid the framework to allow the World Bank to send millions
of dollars in aid to the indebted nation.
The world lender stands ready to better its $300 million loan to help
Pakistan reform its banking system, officials said here Friday.
"The World Bank aims to send a strong message that it wants promote the
positive reforms within Pakistan put forward by President Pervez
Musharraf's government," a World bank official said.
The latest announcement follows news earlier this week that the world's
lending institution had approved the $300 million loan to promote a
privatised banking system in the Asian nation.
"There are other reforms on which we are having a dialogue with the
government," says Abid Hasan, acting director of the World Bank in
Pakistan. "Those will be additional funds," he adds, but fails to
disclose a figure.
The package is the latest in a series of loans the World Bank has made
to Pakistan in the hope of promoting reform.
"Pakistan is working to develop a competitive private banking system
free from the interference of vested interests and operating under a
strong regulatory framework," the bank said in a statement.
"The government has demonstrated that it understands the essential links
between putting in place all the fundamentals and its ability to create
conditions for sustainable growth in Pakistan," said John Wall, the
World Bank's director of Pakistan, speaking in Washington.
Wall said the $300 million loan package would hasten the day when
Pakistan could see its banks privatised. A safe, sound and efficient
banking system is crucial to a country's development, he said. "It is
the blood supply and very fundamental to all kinds of economic
Wall also said the loan package had nothing to due with Pakistan's
recent support of US attacks on Afghanistan. "This particular reform had
been prepared in the year," he said.
The attention given to Pakistan in the last six weeks or so has raised
the country's visibility and allowed people to learn about Pakistan's
reform programme, he said.
Pakistan's esteem has been raised among nations in recent weeks due to
its support of US action against Afghanistan's ruling Taliban.
Previously, the world's attention was on Pakistan's poor reputation and
credibility - which Wall said is deserved because of past actions and
policies. "An end result of the [reform] programme could be an improved
image for Pakistan," Wall said.
Also this week, the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) approved
$50 million for Pakistan and Turkey to help finance imports of
products. The announcement was made by the IDB at its 26th annual
meeting being held in Algiers Pakistan's
Oil and Natural Resources Ministry received $25 million to
fund imports of crude and refined products. -Internews