ISLAMABAD - The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide $325 million to Pakistan for the Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme.

Anjum Assad Amin, additional secretary for Economic Affairs Division (EAD), and ADB Country Director Werner Liepach signed the loan agreement here in Islamabad. Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony.

ADB’s financial assistance will target off-grid areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and contribute to Pakistan’s national goal of enhanced energy security. The programme will be implemented over a period of five years (2017 to 2021). This programme is gender sensitive, providing 7 percent micro hydropower plants to women-headed households in KPK and at least 30% of the schools being installed with solar facilities under the project are girls-only schools.

It includes provision of training to women to equip them to use the benefits resulting from the availability of electricity in each province. The project will also provide for strengthening the procurement, monitoring and internal audit functions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Punjab, including establishment of an information and communications technology driven programme performance monitoring system.

Of the US$325 million loan, US$ 237.3 will be utilised for projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the remaining US$ 87.6 million will be used for projects in Punjab. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa component of the project will entail installation of around 1,000 micro hydropower plants in off-grid locations, and installation of solar facilities in around 8,187 schools and public health facilities.

In Punjab, solar facilities will be installed in around 17,400 schools and public health facilities, with at least 30% of the said schools being girls-only schools. The programme will be implemented over a period of 5 years (2017-2021).

On this occasion, the finance minister stated that ADB along with other development partners had contributed significantly to economic development in Pakistan. He appreciated ADB’s continued support, especially for energy and infrastructure sectors, which are the top most priority of the government. “ADB has all along been our great partner,” he said.

The minister, on the occasion, referred to the Fitch report, which reaffirmed Pakistan’s rating at ‘B’ with a ‘Stable’ outlook. He also mentioned the Bloomberg report that stated that most of Pakistan’s developments were fairly positive. He stated all this bore testimony to the economic achievements of the present government through a concerted reforms agenda.

ADB Country Director Werner Liepach, in his brief comments, stated that the most significant aspect of the project being undertaken was that it was people centric and as many as 2.6 million students would benefit from it, of which 1.2 million were girls.