World Bank approves $500 million for Pakistan virus fight

By: News Desk      Published: 02:28 PM, 22 May, 2020
World Bank approves $500 million for Pakistan virus fight

The World Bank approved an amount of $500 million to help Pakistan tackle the coronavirus pandemic, reported 24NewsHD TV channel on Friday.

The approval to issue funds was given by the World Bank’s Executive Directors Board to improve the services at hospitals, bringing improvement in the education sector and distributing money among the deserving people under Ehsas Programme.

According to the World Bank, it will help ensure better coordination between the Centre and the provinces but added that controlling the coronavirus pandemic was dependent upon delivering assistance to the deserving people at the earliest.

The latest World Bank aid comes after 24NewsHD earlier reported on May 11 that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is pressing Pakistan hard for setting even higher taxation targets in the next budget.

The government has been told that it must set the overall revenue target at Rs5,100 billion which means new taxes of around Rs800 billion.

As far the budget deficit is concerned, the top international financial institution says it should 0.4 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product). 

It doesn’t stop there as the IMF is also calling for allocating Rs2,700 for debt servicing and interest payment with a warning that the debt programme won’t be launched again without the abovementioned targets.

Meanwhile, it also learnt that the finance ministry is not ready to take responsibility in the given situation and wants Prime Minister Imran Khan to meet these demands himself. The ministry is reluctant to take any decision on the suggested budget targets, sources said.

As far as the current financial year 2019-20 is concerned, the FBR was initially supposed to collect Rs5,550 billion but the target had been revised to 5,238 after talks with the IMF.

But meeting even this revised target has become impossible due to the coronavirus pandemic as the FBR will be able to generate around Rs4,000 only by June 30. In this scenario, the sources say, the Rs5,100 target could be a challenge in the next financial year.