ISLAMABAD - Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Friday said that Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the co-financers of the Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power Project have agreed to continue funding and now the project would be completed in tenure of current government.

“It gives me great pleasure to announce that IDB and the co-financers on the project have agreed to continue funding of the Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power Project . The project will be completed in the tenure of the current government and will prove to be a symbol of pride for the nation”, the Finance Minister said during a meeting with the delegation of IDB and Saudi Fund for Development to finalise the financing arrangements of the Neelum Jehlum Hydro Power Project . Federal Minister for Water & Power Khwaja Mohammad Asif and Minister of State for Water & Power Abid Sher Ali were also present in the meeting.

It is worth mentioning here that earlier major lenders of the projects including Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Saudi Fund for Development, OPEC Development Fund and Kuwait Fund for Development had reportedly refused to provide further assistance for the project keeping in view its soaring cost. The lenders had provided only $260 million out of pledged amount of $692 million.

The government wants to complete the project by 2016. However, the project could be extended due to the financial constraints. The prime minister asked the management of Neelum-Jhelum to complete the project by the first quarter of 2017.

Finance Minister welcomed the delegation and thanked them for taking time out in Ramazan for discussing the financing issues on the funding of the NJHPP project.

It may be mentioned that in the last meeting on the subject a sub-committee was formed to discuss the issues that still need to be resolved in this project. EAD, Ministry of Water & power and Wapda shared the table to discuss the concerns of the financers on various matters and finally reached the consensus on the outstanding issues.

The Prime Minister in the Cabinet Committee on Energy meeting, had handed over the responsibility of resolving financing and other related issues of the project to the Finance Minister.

Energy specialist Islamic Development Bank Dr. Farid Ahmad Khan said that the interest taken by government of Pakistan for early completion of this project is highly appreciated. We also would like to thank the Ministries of Finance and Water & Power, which have come up with out of box solutions to expedite the work on the project, he said. He also thanked Senator Dar for his keen interest and guidance through which the process bore fruitful results.

Khawaja Mohammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water & Power thanked the delegation for being helpful and open-minded in resolving the issues related to the project. The project, soon to be completed, will prove to be a marvel on which the PML-N leadership, IDB and other financers will feel proud of. Nasir Al-Kasabi from the Saudi Fund for Development said, we support the project and hope that Pakistan will immensely benefit out of the project.

Finance Minster thanked the delegation for co-operation and also appreciated the efforts of the members of the sub-committee who have discussed the issues and suggested solutions on various issues. The meeting was participated by Secretary EAD and other senior members of EAD, Finance Division, Ministry of Water & Power, IDB and SFD.