ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) approved a package of $825 million on Tuesday to improve the national power transmission system in Pakistan, and enhance health and education service delivery by strengthening financing management and procurement systems.
The $425 million National Transmission Modernization Project-I (NTMP-I) will modernize the national transmission system to enable new power generation to reach consumers by upgrading, expanding and rehabilitating selected 500KV and 220KV substations and transmission lines.
“With a substantial volume of new generation now coming online, the strengthening of the transmission and distribution systems is critical,” said Illango Patchamuthu, World Bank Country Director for Pakistan.
Illango said the improved power supply would help meet the unserved demand from consumers and reduce the number and duration of power outages”.
NTMP-I will improve supply reliability and lower losses in the transmission network, according to WB press statement issued here.
The project would also modernize the information and communication technology infrastructure and strengthen financial and accounting systems of the National Transmission and Dispatch Company using information technology, it added.
This will result in more efficient operation and business decision-making processes, higher productivity and upgraded staff skills.
Public financial management inefficiencies contribute to Pakistan’s weak performance in health and education sector, and despite a substantial increase, financial resources fail to reach clinics and schools on time.
Meanwhile, the $400 million Public Financial Management (PFM) reform programme would address these challenges through the enactment of a robust public finance management law, which will lead to decentralization of payment and empower the front-line service delivery managers.
The programme would also focus on strong cash management; timely and comprehensive reporting; improved federal-provincial coordination; timely release of funds; streamlined payroll and pension systems; efficient and transparent procurement, and user-friendly reports for citizen engagement.
“The public financial management challenges undermine the delivery of health and education services to the population”, said Illango.
The new program would support the government to strengthen their public financial management and make it more transparent and accountable by introducing new aspects like, social audit of public expenditures by beneficiarie.” Illango added.
It is pertinent to mention that the NTMP is financed by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, part of the World Bank Group that lends to credit-worthy low and middle income countries. It is a fixed-spread loan with a maturity of 21 years, including a grace period of 6 years.
On the other hand, the PFM reform program is financed by the International Development Association, the World Bank’s fund for the poor, with a maturity of 25 years, including a grace period of 5 years. – APP