Wednesday, February 21, 2024

US President Biden proposes to double economic support fund to cash-strapped Pakistan

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US President Joe Biden has proposed to double the economic support fund to cash-strapped Pakistan to USD 82 million for fiscal 2024 to help its recovery from devastating floods, diversify the energy supply, and support activities to build emergency preparedness capabilities.

“Assistance to Pakistan will expand private sector economic growth; strengthen democratic institutions; and advance gender equity and women’s empowerment,” the State Department said.

In Pakistan, the assistance will support the country’s recovery from devastating floods, diversify the energy supply, and support activities to build emergency preparedness capabilities, said the State Department’s budgetary proposal which was sent to Congress.

The budget proposes to give Pakistan USD 82 million for fiscal 2024, beginning in October, under the Economic Support Fund category. The support was USD 39 million in 2022.

Pakistan is also proposed to receive USD 17 million under the international narcotics and law enforcement category and another USD 3.5 million under the international military education and training category. The administration has also proposed USD 32 million to Pakistan under the global health programme category by the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

The debt-trapped Pakistan government is in a race against time to implement measures to reach an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as the country reportedly has reserves barely enough for three weeks of essential imports.

The agreement with the IMF on the completion of the ninth review of a USD 7 billion loan Extended Fund Facility programme — which has been delayed since late last year over a policy framework — would not only lead to a disbursement of 1.2 billion but also unlock inflows from friendly countries. 

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