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ADB to help Pakistan build climate–resilient infrastructure

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INCHEON: In a major development, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) expressed commitment to help build the much-needed climate-resilient infrastructure for Pakistan — which faced over $30 billion in losses after the devastating floods caused by heavy rains last year.

It will be a great assistance by one of the world’s top financial institutions to the cash-strapped nation that is still struggling to strengthen its economy which suffered a serious blow caused by economic slowdown during the deadly Coronavirus, worldwide shortage of petroleum products and food inflation after the Russia-Ukraine war, and devaluation of Pakistani currency against the dollar.

With an objective of improved preparedness, the bank would help Pakistan in “strengthening infrastructure in such a way that if similar floods take place in future that infrastructure is strong enough to stand there,” Director General of Central and West Asia Department Yevgeniy Zhukov said while talking to APP on the sidelines of ADB’s 56th annual Board of Governors meeting that concluded last week in South Korean city – Incheon.

He said a lot of work was being done in the flood-emergency-related assistance adding that the focus would not only be on repairing the damages caused by last year’s floods but also on making the structures flood-resilient.

Seconding Zhukov’s damage-mitigation strategy, Country Director Pakistan Resident Mission Yong Ye told the news agency that some temporary structures would be in place hopefully this year before the possible flood in summer. He said there would be some protections “before the flood comes and the infrastructure is made climate-resilient.”

He said some of the existing infrastructure was damaged during last year’s floods; however, these had been restored with the ADB’s prompt support.

Seeing the wide-scale destruction and the loss of billions of dollars to the Pakistani economy, foreign experts and donor agencies described it as one of the top countries facing severe impacts of climate change.

In future, Yong said the bank looked at a much more comprehensive approach and was carrying out an upstream assessment of each factor of climate resilience/disaster resilience and analytical work to devise a strategy and an open institutional set-up for ‘quickening the measures.’

Yong said the ADB had also established its national disaster risk management funds under which it would provide the community flood protection structure.

As Asia and the Pacific’s climate bank, the ADB aims to deliver $100 billion in climate financing from 2019 to 2030.

Last week during the annual moot, the ADB launched the Innovative Finance Facility for Climate in Asia and the Pacific (IF-CAP), which would use guarantees from partners as leverage to accelerate billions of dollars in the much-needed climate investment. The facility would be effective from early 2024.

The finance facility would also be applicable to Pakistan not only for designing new projects but also preparing a strategy to effectively counter the negative impacts of climate change. This facility could be used to channelize the funding.

This year, the ADB conference was held at a time when Pakistan recently witnessed massive floods caused by torrential rains, inflicting losses of over $30 billion to the national economy that created issues of food security, damaged infrastructure, washed away livestock and collapsed houses.

Weather experts have forecast another spell of heavy downpours in parts of the country this season, which could lead to further devastation of the already calamity-hit nation.

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Tourism boom: During Eidul Azha, more than 400,000 people travel to KP

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Over 400,000 people travelled to several beautiful locations in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa between June 17 and June 19, celebrating the recently ended Eidul Azha festivities.

With over 174,000 visitors in one day, Naran Kaghan emerged as the most popular location. Visitors looking for a getaway from the city are still drawn to Naran Kaghan’s calm scenery and charming valleys.

A total of 162,000 visitors to Galiyat took in the city’s rich history at its cultural institutions and historical landmarks. In addition, more than 46,000 people visited Malam Jabba in Swat, and 23,000 people visited Upper Dir to take in its stunning surroundings.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa is becoming a popular domestic vacation destination due to its unique combination of natural beauty, cultural legacy, and adventure options, as seen by the rise in visitor numbers.

Businesses and local government agencies have been collaborating to make sure tourists have an unforgettable time while appropriately handling the inflow.

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Pakistan currently has $14.41 billion in foreign exchange reserves.

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In a statement, the central bank stated that as of June 14, 2024, Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves held by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stood at $9.135 billion, following the increase.

The announcement also stated, “SBP reserves increased by US$ 31 million to US$ 9,134.7 million during the week ended on June 14, 2024.”

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) stated that the nation had $14.415 billion in total liquid foreign reserves. Commercial banks own $5.28 billion of the total in net foreign reserves.

It was announced earlier on June 13 that Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves reached US$14.38 billion, up US$168 million in the first week of June.

Pakistan’s reserves held by commercial banks rose by US$174 million to $5.28 billion for the week that ended on June 7, according to a statement released by the central bank.

The SBP now has US$9.10 billion in reserves, down US$6.2 million from before. The central bank did not provide an explanation for why its reserves fell.

“SBP reserves decreased by US$ 6 million to US$ 9,103.3 million during the week ended on July 7, 2024,” the SBP said in a statement.

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In a first for history, PSX crosses the 77,000 milestone.

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At 77,213.31, the benchmark KSE-100 hit an all-time high, up 1,005.15, or 1.32%, from the previous close of 76,208.16.

The government’s readiness to seal an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) following the budget was cited by analysts as the reason for the upward trend.

Experts anticipate that in an attempt to bolster its position for a fresh bailout agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the budget for the fiscal year ending in June 2025 would set aggressive fiscal goals.

Budget for Pakistan, 2024–2025
Pakistan’s budget for the fiscal year 2024–25, with a total expenditure of Rs18.877 trillion, was presented on Wednesday by Minister of Finance and Revenue Muhammad Aurangzeb.

The Finance Minister, Muhammad Aurangzeb, outlined the budget highlights. He stated that the GDP growth target for the fiscal year 2024–25 is set at 3.6 percent, while the inflation rate is anticipated to stay at 12 percent.

He stated that while the primary surplus is anticipated to be 1.0 percent of GDP during the review period, the budget deficit to GDP is forecast to be 6.9 percent over the period under review.

According to the minister, tax income collection increased by 38% in the current fiscal year, and the province will receive Rs7,438 billion. The Federal Board of income expects to earn Rs12,970 billion in revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

In contrast to the federal government’s projected net income of Rs9,119 billion, he stated that the federation’s non-tax revenue projections are set at Rs3,587 billion.

The federal government’s total outlays are projected to be Rs18,877 billion, with interest payments accounting for the remaining Rs9,775 billion.

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