CitiBank offers finance for Pakistan gov’t projects
Following the improvement in the country’s credit rating, CitiBank has offered financing for government projects in Pakistan, including a proposal for the revival of the national flag carrier.
The offer was made by a CitiBank delegation, led by its country officer Nadeem Lodhi, which called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Wednesday, an official statement said.
Sources said that Dar welcomed the offer but asked the delegation to come up with specific financing packages that could be considered for execution.
The minister briefed the delegation on Pakistan’s renewed engagement with international financial institutions, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF), who were encouraged by the national economy’s stability.
He said that Pakistan was now also qualified to be a World Bank ‘client country’ after meeting the required criterion. All international rating agencies had accorded stable ratings to Pakistan’s economy, he said.
The delegation apprised the finance minister about the US$120 million financing for PIA, arranged by CitiBank through the ExportImport (Exim) Bank of the United States and the Islamic Development Bank.
The minister was told that the U.S. Exim Bank was undertaking financing in Pakistan after a gap of seven years, reflecting growing international confidence in Pakistan’s improved economic stature.
The money, the minister was told, would be used to commission an overhaul of PIA planes’ engines by GE Aviation, a subsidiary of the General Electric Company.
The minister appreciated CitiBank’s efforts for arranging finances for PIA and their interest in financing government projects.
Separately, Balochistan Chief Minister Dr. Abdul Malik Baloch also called on the finance minister and sought his attention for the longstanding issue of compensation for those affected by the Mirani Dam.
Malik said that 2007 floods had inflicted untold damage on the homes of the population in the area.
He recalled that in June 2007, when Cyclone Yemyin hit the coast of Balochistan, a massive backflow of water occurred at the Mirani Dam, affecting the population of three union councils. The affected persons, the chief minister said, had not yet been duly compensated in nearly eight years and continued to suffer.
Responding to the Balochistan CM’s concerns, the finance minister formed a committee headed by the finance secretary to review matters pertaining to payment of compensation.
The minister assured the chief minister that he would issue immediate instructions for the resolution of all outstanding issues and other matters upon the submission of the committee’s report.
The finance minister also approved 2.9 billion rupees (US$28.5 million) incentive grant disbursement among provinces for not spending their allocated funds to help the federal government control fiscal deficit.