Delay in flood assistance to affect war on terror: PM
* Gilani says country committed to economic reforms
* Hopes WB will consider easing conditions on economic support
ISLAMABAD: Any delay in the rehabilitation of flood affectees could impact socio-economic and political environment, thus restricting the country’s efforts to curb the menace of terrorism, Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani said on Wednesday.
The PM suggested that the World Bank could make a global appeal to mobilise financial support for Pakistan.
“Pakistan is facing the biggest human and economic crisis in history because of the devastating floods and it is beyond any single country’s capacity to meet a challenge of such magnitude,” he said, adding that the country was simultaneously fighting the war against terrorism as a frontline state in the interest of international peace and prosperity.
Committed: He said that despite enormous challenges, the country was committed to economic reforms, improved governance and democracy.
Talking to Isable Guerrero, the vice president of the World Bank who called on him at the PM’s House, Gilani acknowledged that Isable’s presence showed the concern and solidarity of the major international financial institution. He thanked the World Bank for providing $1 billion funding for flood-related early recovery and reconstruction projects as well as for financing flood-related imports.
Easing conditions: The PM hoped the World Bank would favourably consider easing the conditions on the economic support being extended. “I am confident that keeping in view the colossal losses at the hands of the ravaging floods, the world community and financial institutions will consider provision of additional resources for relief and reconstruction activities,” he said, adding that Pakistan, on its own, had taken a number of steps to raise its own resources to meet the needs of the flood-affected population.
“These measures included reprioritising the budget, freezing expenditure on the last-year level, diverting some development funds, increasing the tax base and austerity in all government departments.
The PM urged upon the World Bank to play a lead role in sensitising international donors to the difficulties being faced by the flood affectees in the country.
Isable apprised the PM that the entire board of the World Bank, consisting of 185 members, was greatly concerned with the situation arising out of the drastic floods.
Optimism: The World Bank, she mentioned, is providing $1 billion for flood-related activities and expressed optimism for increase in assistance and financial support after consultation with the members. app