The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday approved a $300 million policy-based loan to help strengthen Pakistan’s finance sector by supporting measures to develop competitive capital markets. ADB has supported the development of Pakistan’s financial markets through three policy-based loans over the past two decades. The third capital market development program will augment the size and capacity of capital markets and support reforms that enhance the institutional and regulatory capacity of relevant government bodies, according to a statement released by ADB. ADB will also provide an $800,000 technical assistance to support the implementation of key reform actions under the program.Sana Masood, ADB Senior Project Officer in a statement said, “Capital markets act as a major catalyst in transforming the economy into a more efficient, innovative, and competitive marketplace.” “The reforms proposed under this program will lower the cost of financial intermediation and facilitate private sector investment to generate sustainable growth and job opportunities,” she added.Currently, Pakistan’s capital markets play a limited role in financial intermediation and resource mobilization. The government and ADB have agreed to anchor the program to the design of a long-term national capital market master plan to build strong government ownership and coordination across the agencies.