KARACHI : Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his high-power meeting with World Bank President David Malpass discussed $2.77 billion projects and got $1.93 billion new projects approved and some of them include rehabilitation of Guddu, Sukkur Barrages and revamping of Karachi water board.
The other World Bank delegation members who attended the meeting here at CM House on Friday include Vice President South Asia Hartwig Schafer Regional, Regional Vice President IFC Nena Stoiljkovic, Vice President EFI Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Country Director Pakistan Illango Patchamuthu and others.
The chief minister was assisted by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, provincial cabinet members, Nisar Khuhro, Ismail Rahu, Saeed Ghani, Imtiaz Shaikh, Azra Pechuho, Shahla Raza, Nasir Shah, Murtaza Wahab, Chairperson P&D Nahid Shah, PSCM Sajid Jamal Abro, secretary finance, secretary education and secretary Home, SRB Chairman Khalid Mahmood, and others.
Sindh Chief Minister through a presentation told the World Bank Group President that Sukkur Barrage was most important barrages of the country and it was considered to be the life line of rural economy. Similarly, Guddu Barrage is also important for agro-economy of the province.
He said that there was a proposal to construct a new barrage at Sukkur but it would be a huge project in terms financial implication. Therefore, the provincial government has decided to rehabilitate the Sukkur and Guddu barrages. The World Bank agreed to finance $328 million for rehabilitation of both the barrages.
KARACHI REFORMS & INVESTMENTS:
The chief minister said that Sindh government request the World Bank undertook a Karachi Diagnostic Study in 2016 leading to Karachi Transformation Strategy which developed a holistic plan to revitalise the city.
This plan has helped roll out dedicated reforms and investments in the Water & Sanitation; urban transport system; Local government governance. These investments together with attention to indicators having bearing on business environment are expected to impact ease of doing business which is bound to make Karachi the preferred choice of businesses, Shah said.
The chief minister said that the newly signed ‘Competitive and Livable City of Karachi’ (CLICK) is a $ 230 million project, the provincial government planned to initiate Local Government Institutional reforms in all six DMCs and the KMC. “It includes a component for conditional performance grants to Local Agencies for investing in infrastructure,” he said and added “this funding for improving the urban and municipal infrastructure at DMC level is expected to upgrade the livability and simultaneously improve the governance of Local Government Institutions”.
It may be noted that CLICK includes Property tax reforms and deepening “Doing Business” reforms.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that Karachi Water Services Improvement Project (KWSSIP) is a $1.6 billion programme to be rolled out in three phases. Its first phase of $100 million has been approved. This envisages institutional reform of the KWSB; strengthening its HR; technical capacity and improving its planning. It includes some priority works as well. He urged the World Bank team to approve launching of all its phases one after another so that it could make a clear impact. The visiting team approved the provincial government proposal.
Karachi Neighborhood Improvement Project (KNIP) is a US$ 98 million project. It is under execution. It dedicatedly targets improving urban infrastructure and creating greater public spaces. It also involves reform component for Doing Business and under this; Sindh government was able to undertake preparation of digital platform for SBCA. KNIP is also a type of pilot which will guide Sindh in rolling out reforms and investments for Local Government in Sindh.
Karachi Urban Mobility Project (KUMP) is US$ 381 million. On the request of the Sindh government the World Bank approved the project and directed Sindh government to start its implementation. The chief minister said that combined with redline BRT, Green Line, Orange Line, and Karachi Circular Railway, the mass transit system would provide Karachi seamless connectivity between residential districts, business districts, industrial estates, and ports.
STRENGTHENING RURAL ECONOMY
The chief minister said that a large segment of province’s population depended upon agriculture and there was a continuous need to invest in agriculture productivity.
“This requires investment in irrigation infrastructure, improved access to better inputs and mechanized farming and improvement in agriculture value chains, however, most significant aspect that we wish to highlight is increase in Productivity; in agriculture yields,” he said.
Water Sector Improvement project (WSIP) is a $ 283 million. WISP is aimed at improving water availability by improving the major left bank canals system. This, coupled with area water organizations, paved the way for improved water governance and water availability at tail end. The rehabilitation of the Guddu Barrage and Sukkur Barrage Projects are of $ 328 millionare primarily mega rehabilitation projects involving revamping of the two major barrages in Sindh
Sindh Irrigated Agriculture Productivity Enhancement Project (SIAPEP) of $ 187 million provides required investment for on Farm Water Management.
Sindh Agriculture Growth Project (SAGP) of $ 76 million, is focused on improving various agriculture value chains and livestock of province.
Sindh Resilience Project(SRP) $98 million was developed to invest in strengthening emergency preparedness of province; undertake flood protection works and build small water reservoirs. Approximately 15 Water Reservoirs/ Check Dams have been established in Kohistan; Thar and in Karachi, the chief minister. It has been evaluated that the Small Reservoirs in Arid regions are of high value and Sindh will be seek additional financing for this component
Response to Reduce Stunting Program (SERRSP) is a $ 61.6 million project and Nutrition Support Program is $ 36.24 million and both are most important projects. Shah said that the Sindh government was implementing a six-year (2016-2021) multi-sectoral Sindh Accelerated Action Plan for Reduction of Stunting and Malnutrition with the objective of reducing stunting rate from the existing 45 percent to 30 percent by 2021.
He added that the World Bank supported Nutrition Support Program (NSP) amounting to $ 36.24 million was initiated in 2014 and the Sindh Enhancing Response to Reduce Stunting Project (SERRSP) amounting to $ 61.6 million was funded by Sindh government. “The 2018 National Nutrition Survey shows that the overall rate of Stunting in Sindh has reduced from 48 to 45.5 percent, however it is higher than national figure of 40 percent,” he said.
The chief minister said that his government would need more serious and focused attention to help attain overall targets under multi-dimensional poverty. “The support on Nutrition Program may need to be extended for another period of 4 years or so,” he said on which the World Bank asked the provincial government to formally submit the request.
Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah discussing way forward under Phase 2 of KWSSIP said the Government of Sindh planned to focus major investment priorities such as Bulk Water Supply System for Karachi from Indus and from Hub Dam; Improvement in Water & Sanitation Network and Augmentation works; Malir Basin Sewerage Conveyanceand Filtration plants.
“We want to explore possibility of using Phase 1 financing kept for priority works to be used for Bulk Water Supply System from Kinjhar Resource,” he said and it was agreed in the meeting.
Shah said Sindh Water & Agriculture Transformation (SWAT) Projectis in the process of planning for Phase 2 of WISP. “It is believed that attention needs to be accorded to integrated management of Water Resources & Agriculture with three components; Transforming Water Resources Management; Improving Irrigation and Transforming Agriculture through a smarter and more integrated program that can facilitate not just infrastructure but water reforms in more scientific management linked to smart agriculture production,” he said.
He said that the Sindh government was presently evolving a rights-based social protection program which was focused on food security, maternal, neonatal and child health, and the rights and wellbeing of women agricultural workers. “It will subsequently focus on other poverty reduction efforts and creating opportunities for educated youth to eventually finalize a comprehensive approach to social protection,” Murad Ali Shah said and added “the Social Protection Strategy Unit (SPSU) has been established under the Chief Minister’s Coordinator on Social Protection. The responsibility for the design, testing and evaluation of the social protection strategy and programmes would rest with the SPSU of the CM Secretariat. The Government has finalized the initial design phase for testing the program interventions.
Shah said that his government was exploring possibilities of Technical Assistance (TA) support for the Social Protection program for which the World Bank chief suggested him for submission of detailed working paper.
INTERMEDIARY CITIES UPLIFT
The chief minister said that the Sindh government was planning to undertake a more planned investment in its intermediary cities for a balanced growth in the province. “This includes investment in urban infrastructure, urban facilities and spaces, market infrastructure for improving livability; economic growth and job opportunities. Without investing in intermediary cities, endeavors to create economics surplus won’t be able to keep the demographic pressure to intermediary cities,” he said and added increase in economic opportunities in major cities has to be done in tandem with increase in livability in these cities.
The World Bank president urged the provincial government to float a concept paper for Intermediary Cities Improvement Program so that it could be discussed.