Rs 47.3 billion being spent on sanitation, water programmes

AFP

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Finance Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting regarding participation of Pakistan in Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) high level meeting to be held on 11th Aprilin Washington DC. 
Secretary Climate Change Raja Hasan Abbas briefed the minister on enhanced commitments of the provincial governments in water and sanitation sectors. He said, collectively Rs 47.3 billion is being spent by all governments during the current financial year. Of which Punjab has allocated Rs 19 billion and Sindh has allocated 11.3 billion. He informed that the ministry is in touch with the provincial governments and donors for universal access to water and sanitation in line with the vision 2025. 
The secretary also informed that the provinces have been directed to give time-lines of their plans in consonance with vision 2025. He informed that the Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) is a UN driven global partnership between developing countries, donors, multi-lateral agencies, civil society and other development partners and it aims to achieve universal and sustainable access to sanitation and drinking water. 
He said that the presence of the finance minister at the event will show our seriousness and commitment to achieving the targets in the two sectors.
Alhaji Pah, Chief Field Operation UNICEF said that his Organisation is working very closely with the Climate Change Ministry for synchronisation of efforts with the provinces and the local governments. He said that polio and malnutrition directly relates to hunger, water scarcity and sanitation. He appreciated that Pakistan is making progress in provision of safe drinking water and sanitation to its citizens.
The finance minister said that water not only affects our social life but it is also essential for economic development of the country. He said that for sustainable growth in industrial and agricultural sectors we have to conserve our water. He said that Pakistan faces huge financial cost due to lack of sanitation and clean drinking water. He added that the cost is estimated to be 4% of our GDP.
He informed the participants that the federal government will work closely with the provinces to firm up their priority for provision of sanitation and clean drinking water. The finance minister concluded that Pakistan would appreciate any programme/ initiative that provides assistance in these fields and harmonizes donors’ assistance with our own priorities.
The meeting was also attended by Advisor to the Finance Ministry, Rana Assad Amin, SA to Finance Minister, Shahid Mahmood Khan, Farhan Sami, Pak Country Coordinator WFP, Reynold Duncan, Operations Advisors, World Bank and Irfan Tariq, Director General, Climate Change Division. 

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