ISLAMABAD - France has signed loan agreement worth Rs19.5 billion (130 million Euros) with government of Pakistan for Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project.

Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Noor Ahmed, Marc Barety, Ambassador of France, and Jacky AMPROU, Country Director of the French Agency for Development (AFD), here on Tuesday signed a credit facility agreement worth Euros 130m for financing Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor project.

The revised PC-1 of the project was approved by ECNEC on November 14th, 2018 and the Federal Cabinet accorded approval to the signing of the loan financing agreement with AFD on January 2nd, 2019. The project is co-financed by Asian Development Bank and AFD. The revised cost of the project is Rs. 66.437 billion ($593 million) including Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) of Rs. 53.32 billion (ADB and AFD share). The project will contribute to the government of Pakistan’s strategy to resolve the issues of urban transportation. It will provide safe, efficient and comfortable user friendly mass transit system which will be well integrated with the existing transport facilities. It will also help in improving energy efficiency and air quality through reduction of Green House Gas emissions.

The project will contribute to the Government of Pakistan’s strategy in urban services and economic development.

The cost of Peshawar Sustainable Bus Rapid Transit Corridor Project had enhanced by 35 percent. The original project was approved by the ECNEC in its meeting held last year at the total cost of Rs49.3 billion including Asian Development of Pakistan (ADB) loan Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) of Rs41.881 billion. The revised PC-I for the project was submitted to the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms in June 2018 at the total cost of Rs67.953 billion including FEC of Rs54.609 billion to include the loan financing of Euro 130 million being extended by AFD and to accommodate variation in the design and scope of the project.

The project, originally planned to be executed in 12 months, is already beyond schedule and is expected to facilitate 472,000 people per day in its initial phase. It starts from Chamkani on GT Road and terminates at Karkhano Market on Jamrood Road. It was started in December 2017 for completion in one year, but is now expected to be completed in March 2019.

The provincial government said that a soft opening of the project will be held in March 2019. The project envisages construction of 27.373 km long dedicated signal free BRT corridor, out of which 11.85 km will be at grade, 12.266 km elevated and 3.254 km through underpasses. In addition to the main BRT corridor, additional elevated structures having total length of 2.18 km will also be constructed.

France through the French Agency for Development is working in Pakistan, providing technical and financial support to develop low-carbon infrastructures. Till date, AFD has committed Euros 880m financial support while this project is opening new avenue of collaboration in urban development sector. Secretary EAD thanked the Ambassador of France to Pakistan, AFD and the French government for extending financial assistance to Pakistan.