Japan and Pakistan on Wednesday signed two agreements under which Japanese Government extended a grant $19 million to the GoP for improvement in security arrangements in Port Qasim, Karachi Port and energy saving in water supply system in Lahore.

Japanese Ambassador, Hiroshi Inomata and Secretary Economic Affairs Division  (EAD), Saleem Sethi signed the two project agreements while notes containing details of the implementation of the two projects were simultaneously signed by Kawasaki, Chief Representative of JICA and Syed Mujtaba Hussain, Joint Secretary EAD.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar after witnessing the signing ceremony told the media that Pakistan and Japan had a long history of economic cooperation and that he was now looking forward to furtherance of this cooperation with enhanced Japanese investment in Pakistan as pledged during his visit to Japan. “The inauguration of state of the art Yamaha motorcycle plant in April, would also add another chapter to our economic cooperation”, the Minister said.

The Minister went on to say that his visit to Japan was very productive as the senior leadership including the Japanese Deputy PM, all key institutions like JETRO, JBIC, JICA and CEOs of prominent companies resolved to have enhanced economic engagement with Pakistan. He welcomed the signing of the two agreements this morning, which he said were another step towards consolidation of Pak-Japan economic ties.

Hiroshi Inomata while speaking at the signing ceremony said, “In meetings held in Tokyo during the official visit of Ishaq Dar, Minister of Finance to Japan, the Government of Japan expressed its desire to cooperate with Pakistan in its efforts toward economic and fiscal structural reforms and improvement of the security situation. These two grant aid projects embody our commitment.”

Japanese Ambassador said the Japanese government was extending $16 billion to developing countries from 2013-15 on environment related issues. The grant approved for Pakistan (Energy saving for water supply system, Lahore) today also formed part of this assistance.  The Japanese Ambassador today once again denounced acts of terror saying “they were outrageous”. He said the Japanese government also had a resolve to help Pakistan in the war on terror.

The project for energy saving in water supply system in Lahore will contribute to energy saving of the water supply facilities and restoration of water production capacity through replacement of pumping equipment. 105 deteriorated underground water pumps will be replaced with the latest pumps. In order to improve proper operation and maintenance of tube wells, energy audit instruments will be introduced. Both steps will have a synergetic effect on lowering the high-energy cost for Water and Sanitation Agency of Lahore. The Government of Japan committed in November 2013 that it would provide 1.6 trillion Yen (approximately $16 billion or Rs.1.4 trillion) of public and private finance to developing countries over a period of three years from 2013 to 2015 to support their response to climate change. This project forms a part of this commitment.

Under the project for security improvement in Karachi Port and Port Qasim of Pakistan, three (3) units of gantry type X-ray container inspection equipment are to be introduced in the two ports. In addition to this, one (1) unit of mobile type X-ray container inspection equipment is to be introduced for the backup of the gantry type and other existing X-ray inspection equipment.

Also, guidance and training would be provided for operation and maintenance as well as image analysis training for the gantry type X-ray container inspection equipment. This project will contribute not only to improvement for public security, but also to more effective and efficient Customs clearance of container cargoes in accordance with the international standards. Furthermore, the working environment of the Custom officers to conduct physical inspections will also be improved.