Islamabad: According to a report by a local media outlet, the World Bank (WB) has approved a new loan for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) of $400 million to resolve staffing and budget problems in education and health sectors.

The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved the loan under the KP Spending Effectively for Enhanced Development (SPEED) program, which will help the provincial government improve its management of public resources and fiscal planning to maintain human capital investments in education and healthcare services.

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According to the World Bank, the provincial program will lead to improved quality of schools and health centers by introducing crucial changes in budget allocation and expenses. It will also eliminate barriers to reaching the “last mile” in the delivery of education and health services in KP.

The SPEED program supported a systematic and rigorous approach to public financial management in KP, according to WB Country Director for Pakistan Najy Benhassine, by addressing key bottlenecks in planning, budgeting, procurement, and supply chain management so that sufficient resources were available to provide education and health services on a long-term basis.

According to the World Bank, the loan would be used to ensure the implementation of quality improvement initiatives to assess the efficiency of education and healthcare facilities in the province, with an emphasis on facility-level transparency and expanded access, as well as gender inequalities in service uptake.

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According to the World Bank, the $400 million loans would increase the availability of adequate teaching staff in at least 45 percent of the primary, middle, and high schools in the province, especially for girls’ schools, and improve the predictability of services to provide access to medicine in primary healthcare facilities, including maternal and neonatal clinics for women across the province.

Shaukat Tarin, the Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, had earlier said that the World Bank’s (WB) continued support as a major development partner was vital to Pakistan’s fiscal consolidation, enhanced service delivery, and good governance.

The minister praised the World Bank for its crucial role in improving governance and service delivery in Pakistan through institutional reforms and human capital development over the years. During the Covid-19 pandemic, he appreciated the WB’s prompt and timely assistance in boosting economic recovery.

Tarin also reaffirmed the government’s firm commitment to achieving macroeconomic stability and long-term economic growth through a consultative mechanism.

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