Italy to provide 20.5m Euro for economic transformation in GB

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Staff Reporter

Islamabad

Italy granted 20.5 million Euro for economic transformation Initiatives to benefit the rural communities of Gilgit-Baltistan (GB). Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Noor Ahmed and Ambassador of Italy in Pakistan, Stefano Pontecorvo signed the agreement here on another day for Economic Transformation Initiatives, Gilgit-Baltistan.
This is 28 years facility with 10 years of grace period and zero percent interest rate, said a press release issued by Ministry of Finance.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Muhammad Hammad Azhar witnessed the signing ceremony of Financial Agreement with the government of Italy.
Under the Economic Transformation Initiatives (ETI) Programme, the Government of Italy will provide infrastructural support, capacity building and technical assistance for the value chain of key agricultural products to the benefit of rural communities of Gilgit-Baltistan.
Gilgit-Baltistan is a remote mountainous region, less population with comparatively higher incidence of poverty. Agriculture productivity is generally low due to poor access to quality inputs, huge post-harvest losses (45 percent for apricot and 10 percent for potato), lack of local processing and value addition and poor access to markets. Economic Transformation Initiatives (ETI) Gilgit-Baltistan, is the largest developmental programme of Gilgit-Baltistan government.
International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is providing USD 76 million over a period of 7 years. The Italian government has agreed to join hands with IFAD providing a soft loan of Euro 20.5 million to be utilized for financing the programme activities.
The objective of this programme is substantial increase in irrigated crop areas and production and improved connectivity with markets through investments in economic infrastructure.
This programme will improve incomes and reduce poverty and malnutrition in rural areas of Gilgit-Baltistan region benefiting around 100,000 rural households.
Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Muhammad Hammad Azhar thanked the Italian Government for providing this financial facility for the betterment of the people of Gilgit-Baltistan. He said Government of Pakistan honours and appreciates financial cooperation from the Government of Italy and looks forward to strengthen bilateral relations in future specifically after the Joint Economic Commission in October, 2019.