LAHORE  - In yet another significant development, the Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has secured Rs144 billion for Dasu Hydropower Project by signing an agreement of local debt financing with a consortium of major local banks led by Habib Bank Limited (HBL). 

This is by far the biggest single loan agreement for any public sector entity in the history of Pakistan. The agreement signing ceremony was held here at Wapda House here on Wednesday. WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen (R) Muzammil Hussain, HBL President Nauman Dar, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed Khan and representatives of other banks in the consortium signed the agreement on behalf of their organisations. Wapda Member (Finance), Member (Power) and senior officers of Wapda and the banks also attended the ceremony. 

Speaking on the occasion, the Wapda chairman said that today is a historical day vis-à-vis arrangement of funds for development of hydropower resources in Pakistan. He expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for their support in arranging finances for Dasu Hydropower Project. He said that the agreement reflects the confidence of financial institutions on the financial strength of the Wapda. 

He apprised the audience that the 4,320MW Dasu Hydropower Project will be completed in two stages - each of them having generation capacity of 2,160MW. The Stage-I will be completed in five years with an estimated cost of $4.2 billion. The World Bank is providing a credit of $1 billion, while remaining funds are being arranged by the Wapda from its own resources and with help of the sovereign guarantee of the government of Pakistan. Apart from the local financing of Rs144 billion, a foreign loan to the tune of $350 million has also been finalised and an agreement to this effect will be signed very soon. 

Referring to the under-construction projects of WAPDA in water and hydropower sectors, he said that with concerted efforts during the last six months, the impediments in the way to completion of these projects have been removed and these projects are now fast approaching towards their completion. Besides completing Phase-I of Kachhi Canal, which will irrigate 72,000 areas of land in backward areas of Balochistan, Wapda will also complete the 969MW Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, the 1,410MW Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project and the 106MW Golen Gol Hydropower Project in a phased manner from end 2017 to mid 2018. 

The low cost hydel electricity to be added to the National Grid through these projects will not only help overcome electricity in the country but also contribute significantly for development of economic and social sectors in Pakistan, he added. Later, HBL and NBP Presidents also spoke about the local debt financing for Dasu Hydropower Project.