KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah, along with his team, held a meeting with a high-level World Bank delegation led by its Country Chief Patchamuthu Illangovan and discussed the matters pertaining to human capital, public and private investment, structural transformation, trade and sustainability.
The meeting was attended by Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, P&D Chairman Mohammad Waseem, SRB Chairman Khalid Mahmood, Principal Secretary to CM Sajid Jamal Abro, provincial secretaries of finance, industries, education, local government, population and women development. The World Bank delegates included Melinda Good, Lixin Gu, Mohammad Waheed, Amjad Bashir and Rahat Ali.
The meeting discussed lowering fertility to improve development outcomes. It was agreed that the coverage of contraceptive services would be improved. A target was set to utilise the national poverty database for better targets programmes and increase coverage amongst poorest household of the province.
CM Murad directed the chief secretary to improve coordination between different programmes related to family planning, integrate family planning services with broader Mother Neonatal Child Health (MNCH) services.
The meeting also discussed and agreed to further investment in people to support growth and development. The World Bank country chief said that health outcomes relating to nutrition, infant and maternal mortality for Sindh have seen considerable progress over the past few years.
The decisions were taken to give leverage to the private sector in service delivery; regulatory framework for private providers would be strengthened and quality control standards would be implemented in true letter and spirit.
CM Murad said that the provincial government was focusing on increasing its own revenue resources to close infrastructure and service delivery gaps.
He added that the provincial government was planning to reduce exemptions in the urban immovable property tax. The World Bank delegation suggested him to tap user charges to increase available resources.
The chief minister told the visiting delegation that the business regulation in Sindh involved several regulatory layers for entry and operation, therefore, one-window services for investors were being developed. He told them that the provincial government had started a new department for investment The World Bank delegation suggested the introduction of e-governance system.
He disclosed that he was working on creating cities which drive economic transformation. “Steps are being taken to improve governance and planning,” he said and added that the framework was being created for private investment in cities infrastructure and services through PPP mode.
The meeting also discussed the sustainability of growth through responsible natural resources management under which reforms would be introduced in areas of air and water pollution, land and waste use and resilience to natural disasters.
The World Bank delegation suggested water measurement and accounting, improvement in institutional capacity to map water use and enforcing pricing reforms and also suggested encouraging water saving through improved rates and recovery of operation and maintenance costs.