ISLAMABAD: The Balochistan government will launch a project to improve the livelihood of under-served communities in the province with the assistance of World Bank (WB).

It is expected that the WB will approve $15 million from Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MTDF) in March next year.

Created in 2010, the MTDF was aimed at building peace through restoration of trust between the state and citizens, improving employment and access to basic services, a WB document said.

The provincial government, through the Economic Affairs Division, requested the bank to support an integrated service delivery and growth project to stimulate development of rural areas.

The proposed operation was expected to contribute to the Eighteenth Replenis­hment of International Deve­lo­pment Association (IDA-18) priorities of addressing issues related to refugees and host communities, gender mainstreaming, fragility and climate change.

The project will be implemented in eight districts of nort­hern Balochistan — Killa Abdullah, Killa Saif­ullah, Nushki, Chagai, Sher­ani, Zhob, Pishin and Mastung.

Even though poverty in Balochistan reduced by 15 percentage points since 2001-02, it continued to remain high at 56.8 per cent at present.

The WB, in its project report, agreed to adopt a ‘spread out’ approach to ensure greater coverage of districts and maximum number of communities given the resource constrains.

According to the latest Public Expenditure and Financial Accountability Assessment, which is currently being prepared for Balochistan, capacity of the local government and rural development department was weak and the law was expected to undergo a number of revisions.

The assessment report would be published this year.

The provincial planning and development department said the WB would be the implementing agency of the project but it had limited experience of the WB’s safeguard policies.

Extensive capacity-building of the key institutions involved in the project will be needed for effective management of safeguard requirements, the report suggested.

However, various provincial government departments, including irrigation, education and health, were implementing bank-funded projects with a varying degree of safeguard requirements.


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