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$775.6 million World Bank backed projects for Pakistan in pipeline

ISLAMABAD (December 15 2002) : Seven World Bank supported projects worth $ 775.6 million are in the pipeline for Pakistan, which are likely to be approved during the current and following two fiscal years.

These projects include Sindh On-Farm Water Management ($ 60 million), National Education Assessment System ($ 4.6 m), HIV/AIDS Prevention ($ 36 m), North West Frontier Province Structural Adjustment II ($ 100 m), Sindh Structural Adjustment II ($ 100 m), Structural Adjustment III ($ 350 m) and (R) Highways Rehabilitation ($ 125 m).

The World Bank board presentation for approval of Sindh On-Farm Water Management World Bank is tentatively scheduled for the second quarter of 2003-04. For National Education Assessment System project preparation is under way.

For the HIV/AIDS Prevention project, appraisal mission has completed its spadework.

Preparation for Structural Adjustment III, North West Frontier Province Structural Adjustment II and Sindh Structural Adjustment II is underway.

The work on Highways Rehabilitation project is in progress since mid-1990s but has not been qualified for WB Board approval. There were problems in maintaining accounts of the National Highway Authority and setting up of the Fund to use toll collecting for highway development only.

Sindh On-Farm Water Management: This project is one of the four unbundled provincial projects of the Fourth On-Farm Water Management Project.

The project would focus on water management improvement and institutional reforms in the irrigation sector.

The project will include (a) a social mobilisation and capacity building programme for developing effective farmers' organisations; (b) improvement and rehabilitation of distributaries, minors and watercourses; (c) agricultural productivity enhancement measures; (d) monitoring and evaluation; and (e) project management support.

National Education Assessment System: The objective of the project is to enable stakeholders in the elementary education process to understand how well the elementary education system is performing and design better and more focused interventions to improve the system's future performance.

It is experimental. Because of the specialised skills needed for education assessment and the paucity of them nationally, a sizeable portion of the funds will be used for skill acquisition and applied learning.

HIV/AIDS Prevention: The project will support the government's efforts to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. As a priority, the project will help expand ongoing efforts to prevent the epidemic from becoming established in vulnerable populations such as commercial sex workers, injecting drug users and males who have sex with males. Appraisal mission has been completed.

A general procurement notice and specific requests for expressions of interest have been published for (a) providing HIV prevention services among vulnerable populations, including sex workers, males who have sex with males, injecting drug users and long-distance truckers, (b) providing support to the government for procurement and contract management, (c) monitoring and evaluation, and (d) provision of HIV and hepatitis B test kits.

North West Frontier Province Structural Adjustment II: The objective of the project is to support the provincial government's implementation of reforms to improve fiscal and financial management, governance and public service delivery in education, health, rural development and the regulatory framework for private sector development.

Sindh Structural Adjustment II: The objective of the project is to finance implementation of reforms to improve fiscal and financial management, governance, public service delivery, and the state's regulatory framework.

Project preparation is under way. Consultants will be required in the following areas: (a) improvement of fiscal and financial management; (b) financial resource mobilisation and institutional development; (c) capacity building of core government departments; (d) reconciliation of public accounts; (e) information technology specialist work; and (f) technical support.

Structural Adjustment III: The objective of the project is to support implementation of the government's Poverty Reduction Strategy, which focuses on: (a) reforming governance in the areas of taxation, devolution, decentralisation, financial management, civil service administration and public access to information; (b) strengthening the foundations for economic growth in the areas of power, oil and gas pricing, regulatory reform and privatisation; and (c) improving delivery of social services.

Highways Rehabilitation: The objective of the project is to improve the efficiency of the national highways network to lower transportation costs and bolster the economy's competitiveness.

The project will (a) finance a network conservation programme encompassing rehabilitation and improvement of 525 km of national highways and resurfacing and strengthening of 320 km, and (b) provide policy and institutional development support to (i) establish sustainable road maintenance practices funded by enhanced toll revenues, (ii) improve financial management and controls in the National Highway Authority and (iii) establish better pavement systems and standards adaptable to local conditions.

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