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Asian Bank says Punjab govt drained $409m reform loan

ISLAMABAD: Due to lack of commitment and aggressive agenda, the Punjab government wasted at least $409 millions loan acquired to introduce reforms, accused the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

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ADB’s Independent Evaluation Department issued a report claiming the amount has gone down to ditch as the Punjab government’s heedlessness in introducing reforms and an overambitious reform schema.

Pakistan had signed a bunch of loan agreement consisting of $750 million with the ADB in order to get better the performance of the Punjab government through a range of reforms, including civil services, with an principal objective of enhancing the provincial economic growth ration and lessening poverty.

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However, ADB’s evaluation department has made an impartial assessment, claiming the program has failed to accomplish its objectives after the alteration of government in Punjab in 2008. The loan spans over the last two years of former chief minister of Punjab Pervaiz Elahi and the five-year tenure of CM Shahbaz Sharif.

The way provincial government carried out its working has been considered ‘partly satisfactory’. “The new government installed in 2008 had far less commitment to reforms, which contributed to the cancellation of subprogram (of $250 million),” claimed in the report.

The ADB had issued a mixture of concessionary and expensive loans in order to support second-generation reforms. Originally, the lending agency had intended to provide $750 million in three equal installments, but the actual disbursements remained at only $409 million.

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