islamabad

Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to finance $6 billion for the next five years in Pakistan, aligning its country partnership strategy with vision 2025.

The Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Muhammad Saleem Sethi co-chaired a meeting on Country Partnership Strategy (CPS) and Country Business Operation Plan (COBP) for Pakistan with the Vice President of Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday. The Vice President, ADB, Wencai Zhang is on a visit to Pakistan for strengthening bilateral relations and enhancing economic cooperation. Seleem Sethi, highlighted sectoral priorities of the government and presented the Government of Pakistan’s Vision 2025.  The Secretary asked ADB to support and enhance its funding in key sectors of the economy including energy infrastructure, education and health. He further stated that government’s vision of connecting Pakistan with Central and West Asia shall be an integral part of the CPS. Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to finance $6 billion for the next five years in Pakistan, aligning its country partnership strategy with vision 2025. The funding shall be helpful for overcoming energy crisis like ongoing construction of 660MW of Jamshoro Coal Project and building new road projects of Hassanabdal-Havellian and Gojra-Khanewal Motorways. In next five years, to overcome energy crisis small and medium dams of 100-300 MW shall be constructed with the target to generate 2000 MW.

The Secretary, EAD emphasised the need to explore multi-donor financing for mega energy projects of Dasu and Diamer Bhasha Dams. Additional Secretary, Ms Anjum Assad Amin and Senior Joint Secretary, Pervaiz Ahmad Junejo highlighted the issues of ADB’s portfolio management regarding implementation and procurement.  They asked ADB to enhance the role of ADB’s Pakistan Resident Mission for speedy disposal of implementation and procurement issues. Wencai Zhang is on a four days visit to Pakistan and will meet Prime Minister, Finance Minister, Federal Ministers and Chief Ministers of provinces.

Promises to give $195m for Balochistan highway network

Pakistan and Asian Development Bank signed an agreement on for National Highway Network Development in Balochistan (Balochistan Roads) Project for an amount of $195 million.

The loan agreement was signed by the Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Muhammad Saleem Sethi and Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Dr. Werner E. Liepach following a meeting between the Federal Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar and Vice President of Asian Development Bank Wencai Zhang.

The Balochistan Roads Project is part of National Highway Network Development aimed to rehabilitate 79 km of the existing two-lane road of Zhob-Mughal Kot (N50) and 128 km of the existing two-lane road of Qila Saifullah-Waghum (N70) in Balochistan. With tremendous potential for local and regional connectivity, this project will help boost economic growth, reduce poverty which will bring substantial social and economic benefits.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister appreciated ADB role in the development of important sectors. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to mobilising required resources for improving local and regional linkages.

The Vice President ADB assured Government of Pakistan of the support of his organisation and appreciated the Government’s efforts to revamp the existing infrastructure for economic growth and development.

Earlier the Finance Minister had a meeting with Wencai Zhang who is undertaking visit to Pakistan. The Minister underscored the high value Pakistan placed on its partnership with the ADB and spoke of the expectations of continued support from the important development partner. The Minister said that the Government continued to focus on economic revival and needed to make investments in energy, infrastructure and social protection. The results of the measures taken by the new government were already visible. Structural reforms were on track and economic growth had picked up. In order to maintain the momentum, Dar said the Government would need enhanced support of the development partners.

The Minister thanked Wencai for resuming policy lending to the tune of $1.2 billion for energy sector and SOE reforms. He appreciated the support of ADB for Pakistan Infrastructure Reconstruction & Rehabilitation Fund to be established to respond to natural disasters and to enhance Pakistan’s resilience to the future natural calamities. Government of Pakistan had requested the ADB to be the trustee of this Fund. The Minister also thanked ADB for indicative support of $218 million for Flood 2014 Emergency Reconstruction Project in Punjab & AJK. He appreciated ADB’s assistance for Highway Network Development in Balochistan Project to the tune of $195 million. The project would enhance connectivity and up-gradation of infrastructure to boost economic growth and development. The Minister on this occasion urged early processing of $200 million assistance under “Improvement of Border Services Project” and the lead role of ADB in coordinating and facilitating the TAPI negotiations. He informed Wencai that Diamer-Bhasha Dam was a project of national importance as it would considerably change the energy mix, produce cheap electricity and facilitate water storage. Enhanced support of ADB in this regard would be appreciated, he said.

Wencai on the occasion appreciated the remarkable economic turnaround that Pakistan had achieved and also noted that Pakistan had received enhanced ratings by international rating agencies. He congratulated the Minister on the successful conclusion of the 7th IMF review. He said ADB since 1968 had undertaken projects worth $26 billion and in future would like to make contribution in sectors like energy, agriculture, rural development and social spheres.

Wencai said that the successful IMF Review would further strengthen international financial institutions confidence in Pakistan. Pakistan has started a new journey towards macro-economic stability and development. He said the ADB had committed to contribute towards Diamer Bhasha project in the past and in future would be keen to look into new avenues to invest for the betterment of the energy and infrastructure projects. In fact, he said we have been planning to devise strategies that synchronise with the government’s measures to complete projects that are listed on Pakistan government’s priority list. He also said that ADB would like to contribute positively towards Pakistan’s capacity to cope with natural disasters.