ADB, Pakistan sign six Financing Agreements of US$1,543 Million. Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs witnessed the signing of six Financing Agreements amounting to US$1,543 Million between Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB). Mian Asad Hayaud Din, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division and Mr. Yong Ye, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed the 6 financing agreements in Islamabad on 22nd December 2021.
ADB’s Financing for Pakistan
The financing agreements include US$300 million policy-based loan to support financial, technical and governance reforms to strengthen Pakistan’s energy sector; US$385 million financing agreement to improve urban infrastructure in five cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province; US$235 million project loan to dualize 222-KM Shikarpur-Rajanpur Section of Indus Highway (N-55); and US$603 million results-based lending program to strengthen and expand Ehsaas Program.
Two project readiness facilities for preparing Kurram Tangi Integrated Water Resources Development Project (US$ 5 million) and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Investment Project Phase-II (US$ 15 million) were also signed. Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs expressed his deep appreciation and thanked the President, Senior Management and Board of Directors of Asian Development Bank for their continued and enhanced financial support towards reforming energy sector, improving road networks, enhancing social protection and developing sustainable cities in Pakistan.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project
Minister for Economic Affairs stated that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project (US$ 385 million) will help provincial and city governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province to improve the livability of five cities (Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan, Mingora, and Peshawar) by providing water supply, sewerage, solid waste management and green infrastructure.
It will also provide institutional support to improve service delivery and performance of municipal companies with special focus on promoting gender-friendly municipal services through empowerment and capacity development. The project will benefit up to 3.5 million people in these five target cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project also supports the government’s development priorities and Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of Clean Green Pakistan.
Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation
Minister for Economic Affairs also highlighted that under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor Development Investment Program Tranche-II (US$ 235 million), a 222-KM Shikarpur-Rajanpur Section of Indus Highway (N-55) will be dualized (four-lane carriageway)which traverse Sindh and Punjab provinces on the western side of Indus River via Kandhkot, Kashmore and Rojhan.
The dualization of Indus Highway (N-55) will not only boost local economic activities but also promote intra/inter-regional trade and movement of people by improved connectivity and reduced travel time. Indus Highway provides another international corridor linking China, Afghanistan and their neighboring Central Asian countries to the Arabian Sea.
Integrated Social Protection Development Program
In order to ensure comfort and safety of road users, the section will be equipped with bus shelters, trauma centers and rest areas as well as road safety facilities, he added. Minister for Economic Affairs stated that Integrated Social Protection Development Program will support the government’s efforts to implement Ehsaas Program including social protection and poverty reduction schemes in line with the vision of Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan.
Kurram Tangi Integrated Water Resources Development Project is one of the top priority projects in the erstwhile FATA which includes construction of a dam with water storage facility, hydropower generation and construction/upgrading of irrigation system covering 140,000 hectares. It will not only help to increase agricultural production, create employment opportunities and reduce rural poverty in the region but also improve food security in the country.
Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development
The Minister reiterated the Government’s strong commitment to support all the Provinces, AJK and Gilgit-Baltistan for achieving inclusive growth and sustainable development. Mr. Shixin Chen,Vice President, ADB said that despite a challenging situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Government of Pakistan continues to make progress in implementing comprehensive economic, fiscal and structural reforms.
He also commended the efforts of Government of Pakistan for addressing socioeconomic challenges and economic recovery amid pandemic. Mr. Chen appreciated the mass vaccination program for controlling the spread of COVID-19 for which ADB also provided US$ 500 million to Pakistan. Mr. Eugene Zhukov, Director General, ADB expressed that ADB will continue to support Government’s development priorities and stands committed to support Pakistan for a green, resilient and sustainable recovery.
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Mr. Yong Ye, Country Director stated that ADB financial support will strengthen Pakistan’s economy and reduce the risk of external economic shocks.