IFC to double project funding in Pakistan in three years.

KARACHI -- International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank Group that invests in the private sector in emerging markets, is going to double its portfolio in Pakistan over the next three years.

Speaking at a summit on infrastructure financing on Tuesday, IFC Pakistan Principal Country Officer Naz Khan said the local portfolio of the largest global development institution consists of $1.3 billion in more than 40 companies. Its investments consist mostly of infrastructure-related companies in both debt and equity forms.

The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Index ranks Pakistan 110 out of 141 countries in terms of the quality of its overall infrastructure, including transport and utilities, road connectivity, electricity access, electricity supply quality and reliability of water supply.

Ms Khan said IFC is 'very keen' to invest in domestic infrastructure. However, she warned that no amount of money from either donors or the public kitty will be adequate to finance the required infrastructure.

'The macro environment needs to be conducive,' she said, adding that long-term investors should at least be able to foresee an upward trajectory.

Pakistan ranks 122 out of 160 countries on the World Bank's Logistics Performance Index. It ranks 121 on the infrastructure sub-indicator, which quantifies the state of the trade- and transport-related infrastructure.

Speaking on the occasion, the Bank of Punjab CEO Zafar Masud said the asset-liability mismatch in the banking sector is a major reason for inadequate infrastructure financing, which is long-term by definition.

Of roughly Rs23 trillion in deposits, the maturity of merely 1.2 per cent goes beyond five years, he said. In other words, banks find it...

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