ISLAMABAD - Pakistan and Asian Development Bank on Thursday signed a letter of exchange for the establishment of “Pakistan National Fund for Disaster Management”, a programme loan for “Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Programme- Subprogram II” and two project loans of “Advance Metering Infrastructure Project and New Customer Information and Billing System for entire company in IESCO and LESCO”.

The letter of exchange and loan agreements were signed by the Secretary Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Tariq Bajwa and Country Director Asian Development Bank (ADB) Dr Werner E Liepach. Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony. The representatives of Japan, Belgium, Norway and Australia were also present in the ceremony.

The “Pakistan National Fund for Disaster Management” will be a government-led and owned long term instrument for disaster management. The fund will facilitate the implementation priorities and objectives set out in the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) approved in 2013.

The programme loan “Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Program- Subprogram II”, amounting to $400 million will support the implementation of the objectives of the GoP National Power Policy 2013 to develop an efficient and consumer oriented power system to meet the need of the people and economy. The operation particularly focuses on policy and institutional actions that will restore financial viability and thus reduce the burden of public financing for the energy sector. Within this overall strategic focus, the action prioritized would ensure a sustainable least cost generation mix for affordability, a transparent and predictable policy and regulatory framework to attract financial investments, protect consumers and strengthen the credit worthiness of companies in the power sector.

The project loans of “Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project in Rawalpindi Circle and New Customer Information and Billing System for entire vompany in IESCO” amounting to $88.8 and “Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project in Second and Fifth Circle and New Customer Information and Billing System for entire company in LESCO” amounting to $310.4 million will result in the reduction of power losses and will efficiently balance electric supply in the chosen area consisting of smart meters, communications based on power-line communication (PLC), global packet radio system (GPRS), meter date management system (MDMS), time synchronization system and customer information system (CIS).

Meanwhile, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar here on Thursday had a meeting with a delegation of Pakistan’s development partners from Japan, Australia, EU, Norway, USAID and ADB.

The meeting followed GoP (EAD) and ADB’s signing ceremony. The minister complimented contribution of ADB and other development partners for establishment of Disaster Management Fund. The minister said it was good to see the fund being launched in a short span of time. He specially appreciated the pioneer role played by ADB in this regard. He said the GoP on its part would consider contribution for the fund in future and also expected the development partners to contribute to it.

Representatives/diplomats from Japan, Norway, EU and Australia also reaffirmed their support for economic projects in Pakistan.