Syndicate content

Law and Regulation

What’s keeping Pakistan in the dark?

Fan Zhang's picture
 $18 billion in fiscal year 2015—that is 6.5 percent of the country’s economy.
Nearly  50 million Pakistanis still lack access to grid electricity. Power distortions cost Pakistan’s economy much more than previously estimated: $18 billion in fiscal year 2015—that is 6.5 percent of the country’s economy. Credit: Curt Carnemark/ World Bank

From 1990 to 2010, 91 million people In Pakistan received electricity for the first time.
 
And power outages across the country have gone down drastically over the past few years.
 
Clearly, Pakistan has achieved much progress in expanding its electricity access and production in recent decades.
 
However, nearly  50 million Pakistanis still lack access to grid electricity and the country ranks 115th among 137 economies for reliable power.
 
After peaking in 2006, per capita electricity consumption failed to grow for almost a decade, remaining only one-fifth the average for other middle-income countries in 2014.
 
To boost sustainable energy supply, Pakistan’s power sector needs urgent investments and reforms to target inefficiencies in the entire electricity supply chain.
 
Fittingly, my new report In the Dark analyzes what lies behind these inefficiencies and suggests relevant actions to improve the operation of power plants, cut down on waste and costs, and increase electricity supply in a cost-effective manner.
 
The study sheds new light on the overall societal costs — not merely the fiscal costs as in previous research — of subsidies, blackouts and other distortions in the power sector.
 
To that end, my team and I surveyed Pakistan's entire supply chain from upstream fuel supply to electricity generation, transmission and distribution, and eventually, down to consumers.
 
Put simply, the numbers we found are dire.
 
Power distortions cost Pakistan’s economy much more than previously estimated: $18 billion in fiscal year 2015—that is 6.5 percent of the country’s economy.
 
Problems begin upstream, where gas underpricing encourages waste and reduces incentives for gas production and exploration.
 
And with no recent significant gas discoveries, higher gas usage has widened the gap between growing demand and low domestic supply.
 
On top of that, the volume of gas lost before reaching consumers reached 14.3 percent in fiscal year 2015. By comparison, this number is about 1 to 2 percent in advanced economies.
 
Public power plants use 20 percent more gas per unit of electricity produced than private producers.
 
Poor transmission contributed to 29 percent of the electricity shortfall in fiscal year 2015, while weak infrastructure, faulty metering and theft cause the loss of almost a fifth of generated electricity.
 
Electricity underpricing and failure to collect electricity bills have triggered a vicious “circular debt” problem, leading to power outages.
 
A lack of grid electricity also leads to greater use of kerosene lamps that cause indoor air pollution and its associated respiratory infections and tuberculosis risks.
 
Lack of access to reliable electricity also adversely impact children’s study time at night, women’s labor force participation, and gender equality.
 
Connecting all of Pakistan’s population to the grid and increasing the supply of electricity to 24 hours a day would increase total household income by at least $4.5 billion a year and avoid $8.4 billion in business losses.

New year with a fresh start: Addressing urban poverty in Bangladesh

Wameq Azfar Raza's picture


Although Bangladesh has achieved much in the way of poverty reduction and human development, progress has been slower in some urban areas.

Issues such as slow-down of quality job growth, low levels of educational attainment (notably among the youth), and lack of social protection measures have taken the wind out of the proverbial urban reduction “sail.” As the country starts fresh in the new year, it is an opportune time to reflect on some of the key issues affecting urban poverty.

Despite the steady growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), successive Household Income and Expenditure Surveys (2005 to 2010 and 2010 to 2016) suggest that the rate of poverty reduction has been slowing down while the absolute number of extreme poor have been increasing in urban Bangladesh. Given the accelerating rate of urbanization, it suggests that more people live in extreme poverty in 2016 than they did in 2010. With nearly 44% of the country’s population projected to be living in an urban setting by 2050, this issue is only likely to intensify.  

Several factors may be driving this trend. Absence of education and skills dampen labor market participation and productivity. Among those who participate in the labor-force in urban areas, 19% of men and 28% of women are illiterate. For those who received at least some training, a recent study shows that only 51% of eighth-grade students met equivalent competency in the native language subject (Bangla). The figures were markedly lower for other subjects. Similar trends carry through to technical diploma and tertiary level institutes. As a result, many prospective employers report reluctance to hiring fresh graduates.

Milk fortification in India: The journey so far

Edward W. Bresnyan's picture
 NDDB
In India alone, 185 million people don’t get enough nutrients. This hidden hunger is especially pervasive among children. as more than 70 percent of India’s children under five are deficient in Vitamin D, and 57 percent of all children in the country lack adequate levels of Vitamin A. Credit: NDDB
Globally, more than two billion people are deficient in key micronutrients, which are essential to their good health.
 
In India alone, 185 million people don’t get enough nutrients.
 
This hidden hunger is especially pervasive among children. More than 70 percent of India’s children under five are deficient in Vitamin D, and 57 percent of all children in the country lack adequate levels of Vitamin A. 
 
These deficiencies have contributed to high levels of stunting, wasting and underweight children.
 UNICEF 
Global micronutrient deficiency (as a percentage of the population). Two billion people in the world lack key micronutrients such as Vitamin A or iron. South Asia has the most critical malnutrition levels. Source: UNICEF 


Micronutrient availability can make or break a balanced diet
 
If accessible and affordable, nutritional supplements taken in the form of capsules or tablets can mitigate the symptoms of hidden hunger. But they can become toxic if consumed in large amounts.  
 
Unlike supplements, food fortification is a simple, preventive and low-cost approach to curb micronutrient deficiencies.
 
But except for mandatory iodine fortification of salt, India lags in adopting food fortification as a scalable public health intervention.  
 
This is a missed opportunity as a glass of fortified milk (320g) can provide approximately 34 percent of the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A and 47 percent of Vitamin D.
 
In 2016, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India released standards for the fortification of five staple food items: rice, wheat, salt, oil, and milk. Further to that, regulations are now in place to fortify milk variants such as low fat, skimmed, and whole milk with Vitamin A and D.   
 
But despite its significant health benefits, and while established for more than three decades by companies such as Mother Dairy, a subsidiary of the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), milk fortification is not yet common practice across the Indian milk industry.
 
To fill that gap, NDDB partnered in 2017 with the South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI), the World Bank, and The India Nutrition Initiative, Tata Trusts to explore the possibilities of large-scale milk fortification in India.
 
Over the last twelve months, this collaboration has enabled ten milk federations, dairy producer companies, and milk unions across the country to pilot milk fortification for their consumers. Fifteen others have initiated the process.

Act now for a brighter future for the Afghan people

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Today, over 8.5 million students attend school–over 40% of them girls
Photo Credit: Rumi Consultancy/ World Bank

In 2001, only one million Afghan children attended school–none of them girls. Today, over 8.5 million students attend school–over 40% of them girls.

Amina, a 9th grade student, is one of over 3 million girls that now attend school through the contributions of the Afghan people and support from the international community.

"I have seen many improvements at my school. We are learning more now through better teaching methods and materials,” she said. Amina is one of the millions of Afghans whose lives have improved and has great hopes for the future.

As the first country that I visited after becoming the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region in July 2018, Afghanistan impressed me with its resilient people and achievements in spite of challenges, notably in education, health, and infrastructure.

The country has immense potential. Located in the center of a fast-growing region blessed with a young population and abundant natural resources, Afghanistan can achieve rapid growth and huge improvements in living standards through sound planning and tight implementation.

رویدست گرفتن اقدامات عملی، یگانه راه جهت تأمین آینده روشن برای افغانها

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
Today, over 8.5 million students attend school–over 40% of them girls
امتیاز عکس: شرکت مشورتی رومی/ بانک جهانی

در سال ۲۰۰۱ میلادی صرف یک میلیون متعلم شامل مکاتب در افغانستان بودند، که تمام آنان را پسران تشکیل میداد. اما امروز تعداد متعلمین در مکاتب این کشور به بیشتر از ۸،۵ میلیون تن رسیده، که از این جمله ۴۰ درصد آنها را دختران تشکیل میدهد.
 
آمنه، متعلم صنف نهم، یکی از ۳ میلیون دختر امروز قادر است با پشتیبانی مردم افغانستان و به حمایت جامعه جهانی به مکتب برود. وی میگوید: "شاهد ترقی و پیشرفت های زیادی در محیط درسی مکتب ما هستم. با تغییر در روش های تدریس و فراهم سازی مواد درسی جدید، حالا ما میتوانیم بیشتر و بهتر بیاموزیم." آمنه، یکی از میلیون ها دختر افغان است که زندگی اش در مقایسه با گذشته بهبود یافته است و امیدواری زیادی برای تحکیم یک آینده مرفه در افغانستان دارد.  
 
پس از آنکه در ماه جولای سال ۲۰۱۸ میلادی به حیث معاون بانک جهانی برای کشور های جنوب آسیا شروع بکار نمودم، اولین سفر کاری ام  به افغانستان بود. با آنکه هنوز هم افغانستان با چالش های زیادی مواجه است، اما پیشرفت و دست آورد ها در سکتور های مختلف از جمله صحت، معارف، ایجاد و بازسازی زیر بنا و از همه مهمتر تلاش و استقامات بی شائبه افغانها در برابر مشکلات و موانع، چشمگیر است.
 
افغانستان دارای ظرفیت های بالقوه برای رشد اقتصادی می باشد که میتوان از آن جمله موقیعت ستراتیژیک جغرافیایی این کشور، موجودیت نیروی جوان کار و دسترسی به منابع  سرشار طبیعی را از عوامل کلیدی و تاثیر گذار برای تأمین رُشد و توسعه اقتصادی پایدار در این کشور عنوان کرد. با استفادۀ مطلوب از این ظرفیت ها و تطبیق درست برنامه ها، افغانستان میتواند به رُشد اقتصادی سریع و بهبود همه جانبۀ در شرایط زندگی افغان ها نایل گردد.

د عملي اقدامونو ترسره کول، د افغانان لپاره د یوې روښانه راتلونکې د تامین لپاره یوازنۍ لاره

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Also available in: English | دری
Today, over 8.5 million students attend school–over 40% of them girls
انځور: رومی شرکت/ نړیوال بانک

په ۲۰۰۱ زېږدیز کال کې د افغانستان په ښوونځیو کې د زده کوونکو د  شمیر یوازې یو میلیون تنو ته رسېډه، چې ټول یې هلکان و. خو نن ورځ د هېواد په ښوونځیو کې د زده کوونکو شمېر څه باندې ۸،۵ میلیون تنو ته لوړ شوی، چې له دې ډلې څخه ۴۰ سلنه یې نجونې دي.
 
آمنه چې د نهم ټولګي زده کوونکې ده، لکه ۳ میلیون نورې نجونې اوس دا وړتیا لري څو د افغانستان د خلکو په مرسته او د نړیوالې ټولنې په ملاتړ ښوونځي ته ولاړه شي.
 
نوموړې وایي: "د خپل ښوونځي په درسي چاپېریال کې د زیاتو پرمختګونو او بدلون شاهده یمه. په تدریسي چارو کې مثبت بدلون او د نوي درسي توکو په برابرولو سره، اوس موږ کولای شو، څو په غوره توګه خپلې زده کړې ترسره کړو." آمنه یوه له میلیونونو افغان نجونو څخه ده چې ژوند یې د پخوا په پرتله بدلون موندلی او په افغانستان کې د یوې سوکاله راتلونکې د رامینځته کېډو لپاره ډېره هیله منه ده.

وروسته له هغه چې په ۲۰۱۸ کال کې د سویلي آسیا د هېوادونو لپاره د نړیوال بانک د مرستیال په توګه مې په کار پېل وکړ، لومړنۍ کاري سفر مې افغانستان ته ترسره کړ. که څه هم چې افغانستان له زیاتو ستونزو سره مخامخ ده، خو پرمختګونه او لاسته راوړنې يې په بېلابېلو سکتورونو کې لکه، روغتیا، ښوونه او روزنه، د زیربناوو بیا رغول او له ټولو مهمه د ستونزو او خنډونو په وړاندې د افغانانو استقامت او ژمنتیا د ستایلو وړ دي.
 
افغانستان د اقتصادی ودې لپاره یو شمېر بالقوه ظرفیتونو، لکه د مخ په ودې هېوادنو په مینځ کې ستراتیژیک جغرافیايي موقیعت، د ځوان کاري ځواک شتون او پراخو طبیعي سرچینو ته لاسرسۍ څخه برخمن دي چې کیدای د دې هېواد د اوږد مهاله اقتصادي پراختیا او ودې لپاره کلیدي او اغېزمن عواملو ته بدل شي. له دغو ظرفیتونو څخه د غوره ګټه اخیستنې او د پراختیايي پروګرامونو په هراړخیز تطبیق سره به افغانستان دا ځواک ترلاسه کړي څو په چټکۍ سره اقتصادي وده  وکړي او د افغانانو په ژوند کې پراخ بدلون رامینځته  شي.

An update on Bhutan’s economy

Tenzin Lhaden's picture
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development
Accelerating the reform momentum after the 2018 elections is key to consolidating and furthering Bhutan’s development. Credit: World Bank

Bhutan is one of the smallest, but fastest-growing economies in the world.
 
Its annual average economic growth of 7.6 percent between 2007 and 2017 far exceeds the average global growth rate of 3.2 percent.
 
This high growth has contributed to reducing poverty: Extreme poverty was mostly eradicated and dwindled from 8 percent in 2007 to 1.5 percent in 2017, based on the international poverty line of $1.90 a day (at purchasing power parity).
 
Access to basic services such as health, education and asset ownership has also improved significantly.
 
The country has a total of 32 hospitals and 208 basic health units, with each district hospital including almost always three doctors.
 
The current national literacy rate is 71 percent and the youth literacy rate is 93 percent.
 
The recent statistics on lending, inflation, exchange rates and international reserves (Sources: RMA, NSB) confirm that Bhutan maintained robust growth and macroeconomic stability in the first half of 2018.  

Gross foreign reserves have been increasing since 2012 when the country experienced an Indian rupee shortage.
 
Reserves exceeded $1.1 billion, equivalent to 11 months of imports of goods and services, which makes the country more resilient to potential shocks.
 
The nominal exchange rate has been depreciating since early 2018 (with ngultrum reaching Nu. 73 against the US dollar in early November).

Afghanistan eases doing business

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: دری | پښتو
Doing Business Better in Afghanistan


Despite a volatile business environment, Afghanistan has made gains to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

These gains resulted in Afghanistan’s ranking in Doing Businessa World Bank report that measures business regulations across 190 economies—jumping from 183 in 2018 to 167 in the 2019 report, earning the country a coveted spot in this year’s global top improvers.

This is a first for Afghanistan and the upshot of the record five reforms was to improve the business environment for small and medium companies, increase shareholders’ rights and role in major corporate decisions, and strengthen access to credit.

With more than half of the Afghan population living below the national poverty line, Afghanistan needs to catalyze private investment and create jobs, helping entrepreneurs advance their business initiatives and helping established private businesses, small and large, to grow and create jobs.

There is a great deal of work to do in this regard, but the good news is that Afghanistan is serious about improving its investment climate. An overview of the key reforms Afghanistan has undertaken in the last year shows how the country is easing constraints faced by entrepreneurs and investors:

تسهیل هر بیشتر تجارت و کار در افغانستان

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | پښتو
چگونگه انجام تجارت در افغانستان بهبود یافته است
 

[tweetable]]علی الرغم دشواری های موجود برای پیشبرد تجارت و کسب و کار، دولت افغانستان اقدامات لازم را غرض تسهیل و بهبود شرایط برای  سرمایه گذاران رویدست گرفته است[[/tweetable]].
 
براساس اخرین گزارش سالانه انجام تجارت، که توسط بانک جهانی به منظور مطالعه مقررات تجارتی در ۱۹۰ کشور تهیه میگردد، امسال افغانستان در رده بندی جهانی انجام تجارت، از جایگاه ۱۸۳ در سال گذشته به ۱۶۷مین کشور در گزارش متذکره صعود نموده است. بدین ترتیب این کشور در صدر آنعده کشورهای برتر قرار گرفته که بهبود قابل ملاحظه را در راستای فراهم آوری تسهیلات لازم غرض انجام تجارت فراهم نموده است. این بار نخست است که افغانستان با تطبیق اصلاحات در پنج ساحۀ مقرراتی نه تنها سبب بهبود محیط کسب و کار برای  سرمایه گذاری های کوچک و متوسط گردیده، بلکه در تقویت حقوق و نقش سهمداران در تصمیم گیری های بزرگ شرکت ها و فراهم آوری تسهیلات به منظور دسترسی به قرضه نیز پیشقدم  شده است.
 
با توجه به آن که بیشتر از نصف نفوس افغان ها زیر خط فقر زندگی میکنند، ضروریست تا دولت افغانستان روند تقویت سرمایه گذاری های خصوصی را که باعث ایجاد فرصتهای شغلی میشود، تسریع بخشیده و برای انکشاف تشبثات خصوصی و ابتکارات تجارتی متشبثین کوچک و متوسط  زمینه های تشویقی و حمایوی بیشتر را فراهم سازد تا دامنه فعالیت های آنها گسترش یافته و در ایجاد فرصت های کاریابی نقش کلیدی را ایفا نمایند.
 
به منظور تحقق اصلاحات در محیط تجارت و سرمایه گذاری لازم است تا به گونه مؤثر و متداوم تلاش صورت گیرد، که خوشبختانه دولت افغانستان بمنظور تطبیق برنامه های اصلاحاتی در سال گذشته  جدیت به خرچ داده است. نتایج تطبیق این اصلاحات در سال گذشته نشان میدهد که بعضی محدودیت ها و موانع فراروی تاجران و سرمایه گذاران در ساحات ذیل کاهش یافته است:

په افغانستان کې د تجارت او کار لا آسانېدل

Shubham Chaudhuri's picture
Also available in: English | دری
په افغانستان د سوداګری ښه ترسره کول
 

د تجارت او کار او کسب پر وړاندې د شته ستونزو سره سره، د افغانستان دولت د پانګه اچونې لپاره د شرایطو د آسانتیا په موخه پر ځینو اقداماتو باندې لاس پورې کړی.
 
د تجارت د ترسراوي د وروستي کلني راپور پر اساس چې په۱۹۰ هیوادونو کې د تجارتي مقرراتو د مطالعی په موخه د نړیوال بانک لخوا چمتو کیږي، سږ کال افغانستان د یاد راپور په نړیواله درجه بندۍ کې له ۱۸۳ درجې څخه ۱۶۷ درجې ته پورته شوی دی. نو پدې اساس افغانستان د هغو هیوادونو په لړ کې راغلی کوم چې د سوداګری د ښه والي لپاره یې د پام وړ آسانتیاوې رامینځته کړې دي. دا لومړی ځل دی چې افغانستان په پنځو مقرراتي څانګو کې د اصلاحاتو له راوستو سره نه یوازې دا چې د کوچنیو او منځنیو پانګه اچونکو لپاره د کار او کسب چاپېریال ښه کړی، بلکه په لویو پریکړو کې د سهم لرونکو یا ونډوالو د ونډه اخیستنې د حقوقو تقویه کول او همدارنګه پورونو ته د لاسرسي په موخه د آسانتیاوو د برابرولو په برخه کې هم پرمختګ لیدل کیږي.
 
دې حقیقت ته په پام سره چې له نیمایي ډیر افغانان د بېوزلۍ تر کرښې لاندې ژوند کوي، اړینه ده چې د افغانستان دولت د خصوصي پانګه اچونې بهیر چې د کاري فرصتونو د رامینځته کیدو  سبب کیږي، لا ګړندی او غښټلۍ کړي او د تشبثاتو د پراختیا په خاطر د کوچنیو او منځنیو خصوصي متشبثینو د ابتکارونو  لپاره لا ډیرې تشویقي او هڅوونکې زمینې برابرې کړي تر څو د هغوې د فعالیتونو  پراخیدل  د کاري فرصتونو په جوړولو کې اساسي ونډه ترسره کړي. 
 
د تجارت او پانګه اچونې په چاپېریال کې د اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په موخه باید اغیزناکه او دوامداره هلې ځلې وشي، چې له نیکه مرغه د افغانستان دولت په تیر کال کې د اصلاحي پروګرامونو په پلي کیدو کې پوره جدیت ښودلی دی. په تیر کال کې د دې اصلاحاتو د پلي کیدو په پایله کې د سوداګرو او پانګوالو پر وړاندې په لاندې برخو کې ځینې خنډونه او محدودیتونه را کم شوي دي:

Pages