WASHINGTON - Pakistan and the OPEC Fund for International Development entered into a loan agreement here, under which the OFID would provide $50 million for completion of Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Plant Project.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Director General OFID signed the agreement. The objective of the original project is the construction of a hydroelectric power plant, involving the diversion of the Neelum River through an underground tunnel system. The project is aimed at meeting growing electric power demand through improved access to electricity and reliable power supply while boosting the share of hydro-generated power in the overall mix of electricity generation of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said Pakistan’s introduction of key reforms and measures to fix the national economy have bolstered international confidence as top world institutions have expressed their willingness to partner in the country’s development.

Senator Dar, who is leading a Pakistani team of economic managers to the IMF-World Bank meetings, sounded upbeat after holding a series of discussions with leaders of financial institutions and his counterparts from several countries on Thursday.

“At each forum our efforts have been appreciated and now the world financial institutions acknowledged a seriousness on part of the government led by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif towards addressing long-delayed issues and pulling the country out of its economic woes”, he told APP after meeting with Managing Director of the World Bank.

Regarding his meeting with MD World Bank, Ms Sri Mulyani Indrawati, the finance minister said he conveyed the government’s decision that it has undertaken to simultaneously build both Dasu and Diamer Bhasha dams.

Pakistan, he said, is getting support from the World Bank and other institutions while a study on Diamer Bhasha dam is also under way.  “We will start our project without waiting for foreign studies —- we will construct both dams in line with our national interest”.

Earlier, the finance minister had useful meetings with his counterparts from Afghanistan and Iran, and president of Japan International Cooperation Agency. He is scheduled to hold more high-level meetings on Friday as part of his hectic and “unprecedented” schedule for the annual gatherings.

Dar also come away with a positive takeaway from his meetings with US officials. He met with USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Under Secretary of Treasury David Cohen.

He said the U.S. has declared Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s October 23 visit to the White House for talks with President Barack Obama as official working meeting.

“As we move forward with reforms and recovery agenda, Pakistan will get the importance it deserves”, he added.

Meanwhile, he also addressed a gathering of Pakistan Bank Fund Staff Association that comprises World Bank and IMF employees of Pakistani origin. He informed the experts of some bold and difficult reforms and austerity measures the government has put in place to revive the national economy. He defended the International Monetary Fund program for the country. Ishaq Dar told the participants that the Fund had nothing to do with recent currency devaluation. He said Pakistan will honor all its international commitments as the government is determinedly working to turn around the economy.