High power rate, rising global prices to bloat inflation in Pakistan: ADB

Revises growth outlook for South Asian countries citing advent of Omicron variant: Approves $200 million loan for improving Punjab’s irrigation system

By: News Desk
Published: 02:04 PM, 14 Dec, 2021
High power rate, rising global prices to bloat inflation in Pakistan: ADB
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The Asian Development Bank has downgraded the growth outlook for the South Asian countries while indicating a high rate of inflation in Pakistan, reported 24NewsHD TV channel.

In its latest report released on Tuesday, the ADB has estimated that inflation rate in Pakistan is expected to increase following a hike in the electricity prices in the country. Besides this, the inflation in Pakistan will also be triggered due to rising prices in the global market, the bank stated in its latest projections.

The Asian Development Bank has revised its growth rate for the South Asian countries downgrading it from 8.8% in September this year to 8.6% after renewed outbreaks of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) leading to slower growth in the third quarter.

“Developing Asia’s steady progress in dealing with COVID-19, through continued vaccination drives and more strategic application of containment measures, helped boost growth prospects in the early part of the year,” said ADB Acting Chief Economist Joseph Zveglich, Jr. “However, new outbreaks in the third quarter muted gross domestic product growth, and the advent of the Omicron virus variant is causing renewed uncertainty. Recovery efforts will have to take these developments into consideration.”

The ADB slashed the growth rate of India for the fiscal year 2021 from 10% to 9.7%. The reduction of 0.3% comes amid supply chain issues that are affecting industry. India’s outlook for FY2022 is maintained at 7.5%, as domestic demand is expected to normalize.

The bank has further said that inflation rate in India is expected to hover around 5.6%. 

ADB grants $200m loan for Punjab irrigation system 

The Asian Development Bank has sanctioned a loan of $200 million to overhaul the irrigation system in Punjab. 

The money would be spent on the construction of Chobara Canal System. 

According to the ADB, with the help of Chobara Canal System, water will be provided to different areas in Punjab including Bhakkar, Layyah, Muzaffargarh, Jhang and Khushab. 

The new canal system will irrigate 704,000 acres of land in five districts of the province, the ADB added. 

Last week, the ADB approved a $603 million results-based lending program to strengthen and expand social protection program in Pakistan.

A statement issued by the ADB said, “Using conditional cash transfers, the program will support the implementation of Ehsaas, Pakistan’s national social protection and poverty reduction strategy.”

“Under the Integrated Social Protection Development Program, ADB will provide a regular loan of $600 million and a $3 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, and will administer a $24 million grant from the Education Above All Foundation.”

ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov said, “The program marks a significant shift in ADB’s strategic engagement in the social protection space in Pakistan in line with Ehsaas priorities.”

“ADB’s support will transition from unconditional cash transfers that provide income support to a mixed-modality approach that focuses more on conditional cash transfers for education, health services, and nutritional supplies that will help reduce intergenerational poverty through human capital development.”

The program supports the Ehsaas goal of expanding cash transfers to improve access to primary and secondary education up to grade 10 for children and adolescents of poor families, especially girls, and enhancing health services and nutrition for women, adolescent girls, and poor children. It also aims to initiate coverage of accelerated learning programs at primary education level for overaged out-of-school children under conditional cash transfers.

Reporter Waqas Azeem