Ecnec approves Financial Inclusion & Infrastructure Project

ISLAMABAD  -  The government on Wednesday approved ‘Pakistan Financial Inclusion and Infrastructure Project’ aimed at increasing access to financial services for households and businesses by improving usage of digital payments in the country.

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec), during a meeting chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, has accorded approval in principal for Financial Inclusion and Infrastructure Project with IDA funding of $137.00 million (Rs14,318.85 million). Two World Bank institutions — International Bank for the Reconstruction and Development and the International Development Association — will jointly provide $137 million finance for the project.

Pakistan Microfinance Investment Company, the Central Directorate of National Savings and the State Bank’s development finance group would implement the project. The project would focus on the development of market infrastructure and the ecosystem that will facilitate access and usage of digital payments and financial services. Access to credit for micro, small and medium enterprises will be supported by a line of credit that will catalyse private sector financing and focused interventions including technical assistance in line with the NFIS.

While according the approval, the Ecnec directed that a committee headed by the Planning and Development secretary will rationalise the cost and scope of the project. The Ecnec noted that the objectives of this project are in line with the aims of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy, currently being implemented by the government to achieve universal financial inclusion in the country. Meanwhile, the Ecnec also approved the project for Lahore-Sialkot Motorway Link (4-lane) via Narang Mandi to Narowal at a cost of Rs14,189.850 million, with the instruction that the implementation must be ensured in the given time period. The project aims at construction and dualisation of 73.35km of new and existing road to provide connection of Lahore-Sialkot motorway with Narang Mandi, Baddomalhi and Narowal.

 

 After thorough discussions, the Ecnec approved the project for the construction of Expressway on East Bay of Gwadar Port.

The project will be financed through an interest-free loan from the government of China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The project envisages construction of 18.981km 4-lane divided expressway with embankment for 6-lane structures, integrating Gwadar port with the Makran Coastal Highway as well as with its Free Zone and future container terminals.