No free lunch: Pakistani daily on $5.5 bn aid
Islamabad: There is no such thing as a free lunch, a leading Pakistani daily said on Monday on the USD 5.5 billion development aid granted by the World Bank.
The Bank's decision to provide the assistance over the next three years should "somewhat ease the financial troubles of the cash-strapped government and give it some respite in the wake of drying foreign official and private capital inflows", an editorial in a newspaper said.
It said the Bank's assistance is meant to shore up the country's sliding economy as well as to create jobs and health facilities and construct roads in poorer and less-integrated regions and tribal areas near the Afghan border.
"But there is no such thing as a free lunch," the editorial warned.
"The government will be required to contribute to the effort to get the country back onto the path of high, sustained economic growth as articulated by it in its new growth strategy to continue to receive assistance."
The World Bank experts Islamabad to improve economic governance, take steps for human development and social protection, build social and economic infrastructure and work to reduce security and conflict risk.
It said that the government must take effective steps to improve macro-economic governance and "implement the long overdue structural, administrative, fiscal and tax reforms to create space for future development spending".
"It has already delayed implementation of the reforms for a very long time at the expense of the people and the economy. Further dilly-dallying on the issue of reforms can have serious repercussions for the people who are suffering because of the incompetent handling of the economy," the editorial added.