COLOMBO: Sri Lanka announced Wednesday it would start hanging drug dealers, ending a near-half century moratorium on capital punishment as officials promised to “replicate the success” of the Philippines drug war.
President Maithripala Sirisena had told the cabinet he “was ready to sign the death warrants” of repeat drug offenders, government spokesman Rajitha Senaratne said Wednesday. “From now on, we will hang drug offenders without commuting their death sentences,” he said.
Sri Lanka has commuted death sentences for serious crimes to life in prison since 1976 when the last execution took place. Senaratne said there were 19 drug offenders whose death sentences had been commuted to life.
It was not clear if they would be hanged under the government’s policy shift. But authorities say a tougher approach is needed to combat what they say is an increase in drug-related crime. Senaratne cited a case this week where a convicted drug dealer, whose death sentence was commuted to life, had arranged the import of 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of heroin from behind bars.
ADB to provide $7.528 bn to Pakistan
ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has planned to support Pakistan with lending of $7.528 billion for various development projects during the next three years.
In its new Country Operations Business Plan (COBP) for Pakistan 2019-21 revealed on Thursday, the ADB has proposed a sovereign lending program for next three years worth $7.528 billion, consisting of $5.37 billion from regular Ordinary Capital Resource (OCR) lending and $2.158 billion from Concessional COR Lending (COL). COL includes a carryover of $600 million from 2018. The non-lending program for 2019–2021 is $21.7 million, including transaction technical assistance for various pipeline projects. An amount of $2.245 billion in ADB loan financing is allocated for the energy sector, which is 29.8 percent of the total pipeline for 2019–2021.
The pipeline includes a multi-tranche financing facility for Transmission Strengthening (tranche 1) for National Transmission and Dispatch Company (NTDC), Hydropower Development Project for Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA), and support for the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India Gas Pipeline Project. For the transport sector, some $1.394 billion of ADB loan financing for the sector (18.5% of the total pipeline) have been allocated for the transport sector. The pipeline includes the Sustainable National Highway Project and the Sindh Hyderabad Southern Bypass Project.
ADB also proposes support for the revitalization of Pakistan Railways to improve transport sector sustainability, including exploring non-conventional financing arrangements. For agriculture, natural resources, and rural development, ADB has allocated $794 million in loan financing to the sector (10.6% of the total pipeline). The pipeline includes the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, the Kurram Tangi Water Resources Project, and the Smaller Cholistan Water Resources Development Project. Similarly, for water and other urban infrastructure and services, the ADB has allocated $470 million in ADB loan financing (6.2% of the total pipeline). The pipeline includes a cross-sector project readiness facility for Punjab and the Punjab Cities Improvement Project. ADB has also allocated $2.4 billion in loan financing to the finance and public sector management sectors (31.9% of the total pipeline).
The COBP, 2019-2021, includes new projects such as trade and competitiveness program (subprogram 1) in 2019; financial markets development in 2020; infrastructure financing and PPPs in 2021; as well as the second phase of support for the Benazir Income Support Program in 2020. The education and health sectors pipeline includes $225 million in loan financing (3.0% of the total pipeline). ADB’s re-engagement in education and health sectors includes $175 million for projects on secondary education in Sindh and improving workforce readiness and skills development in Punjab, and $50 million projects to improve quality of health care services in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).
ADB will also provide technical assistance across sectors to help project implementation and to generate and disseminate knowledge products to support policy and project development, as well as to enhance project quality and readiness. Pakistan, a group B developing member country, is eligible for regular OCR lending and concessional OCR lending (COL). The indicative resources available during 2019–2021 for sovereign operations amount to $5,712 billion, comprising $4.29 billion for regular OCR lending and $1.422 billion for COL. The final allocation will depend on available resources, project readiness, project performance and debt distress rating of the country among others. ADB’s non-sovereign operations will supplement these resources. ADB will also explore co-financing from other sources and seek financing from the regional pool under concessional resources and regular OCR for regional cooperation and integration.
Modi loosing from traditional stronghld!
NEW DEHLI: India’s ruling party looked set to lose power in at least one of three traditional stronghold states releasing election results on Tuesday, in a blow to Prime Minister Narendra Modi ahead of national polls in 2019.
Early election results in the central state of Chhattisgarh indicated the main opposition Congress party of Rahul Gandhi would win 59 seats compared to just 11 for Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
The Hindu nationalist BJP has ruled Chhattisgarh for the past 15 years.
WB urges focus on 5 key pillars
KUALA LUMPUR: The promotion of economic competitiveness, building skills, fostering inclusion, strengthening state institutions and financing the transition to high-income status, are five key areas that policymakers in East Asia should focus on in the coming decade, says the World Bank.
The World Bank said the region’s remarkably successful development model, a combination of outward-oriented growth, human capital development and sound economic governance, needed to be adjusted to effectively address emerging external and internal challenges.
“In terms of promoting economic competitiveness, emerging priorities should include service sector reforms, deepening trade agreements, broadening innovation policies and improving access to finance, especially for small- and medium-sized enterprises,” it said in its regional report titled, “A Resurgent East Asia: Navigating A Changing World”, launched Monday.
On building skills, the report said beyond the East Asian countries’ current focus on basic human capital, it would be increasingly important to support development of advanced skills, including socio-emotional skills and digital literacy.
“For fostering inclusion, the countries need to develop programmes to transition vulnerable workers to new job opportunities and to ensure affordable access to digital technologies in addition to their traditional social protection programmes.
“As for strengthening state institutions, the nations need to increase state effectiveness through enhancing citizens’ voice and participation, as well as increasing transparency and greater government accountability,” it said.
On the last key area – financing the transition to high-income status, the report suggested that the governments needed to increase domestic revenue mobilization in order to achieve high-income status.
Citing the report, World Bank Chief Economist for East Asia and the Pacific, Sudhir Shetty, said since 2000, East Asia’s gross domestic product had grown over three-fold.
“Several out of ten countries in the region, including Malaysia, could realistically aspire to high-income status in the space of the next generation,” he said in his keynote address at the event today.
Meanwhile, asked if Malaysia could achieve its high-income nation aspiration in 2024 as targeted in the
11th Malaysia Plan (11MP) Mid Term Review, a Lead Economist of World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia, Richard Record, said “it is definitely achievable, but it is going to be ‘very tough’.
“The government should focus on economic policies, education quality, increase the standard of governance accountability, and strengthen the social protection system to ensure people from all walks of life can benefit in the future,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the event.
In a recent report, the World Bank expected Malaysia to achieve high-income nation status between 2020 and 2024, in line with the target set by the government in the 11MP Mid term Review released in October.
The government has postponed the high-income nation aspiration to 2024 from 2020 targeted earlier due to a 21 per cent gap between the country’s gross national income per capita (US$9,556 in 2017) and the minimum income threshold of a high-income nation (US$12,056 for 2017) set by the World Bank.