The World Bank gave approval of a $442 million loan for improving access to water and sanitation services for the most vulnerable rural communities in Punjab, as the lender predicts a “sizable increase” in poverty across the country.
The WB board of directors approved the Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project (PRSWSSP) to upgrade water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services for sustainable access to drinking water and safe wastewater management, a handout issued by the local office of the World Bank stated.
The project prioritises rural settlements, where water contamination and poor sanitation practices are more prevalent, causing high levels of illness and child stunting.
The World Bank approved the project the day the government decided to reverse its earlier decision of increasing tax incidence on dairy products, which would have reduced their consumption. In the budget, the government has proposed to increase the sales tax rate on dairy products from 10% to 17%.