Public-private partnerships: US will continue assisting Pakistan
KARACHI: Ryan C Crocker, US ambassador to Pakistan, on Friday pledged to continue assisting Pakistan in developing public-private partnerships as an essential component of an overall $1.5 billion assistance package for the country.
This amount is to be spent in five years whereas the total assistance for other than gem and jewellery, marble and granite and dairy development industries is double this amount, Crocker said at a press conference with officials from the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Authority (SMEDA) and non-government organisations (NGOs).
Crocker said the assistance was mainly for education, health, economic development and governance including reforms in the national and provincial assemblies. He said that political parties would be trained to organise themselves at the grass-root level.
The US envoy said the aim of the project was to identify the needs of the gem and jewellery, dairy development and marble and granite industries and to transform them into more economically viable and competitive businesses at the world level. He said that Pakistani stone was of good quality, but needed improvement in cutting and polishing.
The marble and granite strategy working group is in dialogue with the public sector to develop a policy framework to increase investment in technology and infrastructure in ornamental stone quarrying.
Lisa Chiles, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) director, said the agency would help Pakistani industrialists visit the world market and evolve a strategy for their economic development. She said that industrialists must know why Pakistani marble was not getting the price Indian or Italian marble was, in the world market.
Lisa said that the working groups would help cut the wastage and improve the quality of products. She said that a support fund had been created with $10 million each from the USAID and the government of Pakistan as the industry couldn’t invest in these projects individually.
SMEDA chief Sultan Tiwana said that working groups in their respective industries had identified certain needs and projects that would be funded from the support fund on a long-term basis.
Giving details of the assistance package, the US consul general said that $200 million of $1.5 billion assistance package would go to the government of Pakistan for health, education and training etc, while the remaining sum would be spent on other projects to be identified by the government. app