ADB to give $6bn for infrastructure

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to provide $6 billion over the next five years under the Country Partnership Strategy (CPS), aligning its lending programme with the government`s `Vision 2025`.

The new funding during 2015-19 was reviewed and finalised at a meeting cochaired by ADB Vice President Wencai Zhang, who is on a four-day visit, and Economic Affairs Division Secretary Saleem Sethi on Tuesday.

The financing will be helpful for overcoming energy crisis like ongoing construction of 660MW of Jamshoro coal project and new road projects of Hasan Abdal Havellan and Gojra-Khanewal motorways, according to a press release of the Economic Affairs Division.

The Country Operations Business Plan (2015-17) also came up for discussion in the meeting. The strategic thrust of the plan is aligned with the interim country partnership strategy covering 2014-15 period.

ADB and the government have implemented the country partnership strategy for 2009-2013, a $4.4bn lending programme to facilitate structural change, promote investment, and improve the country`s institutional effectiveness. In next five years (2015-19) focus will be on overcoming energy crises, construction of small and medium dams to generate electricity ranging from 100MW to 2,000MW.

Saleem asked the ADB to support and enhance its funding in key sectors of the economy including energy infrastructure, education and health.

He emphasised the need to explore multi-donor financing for mega energy projects of Dasu and Diamer Basha dams. He further stated that the government`s vision of connecting Pakistan with Central and West Asia will be an integral part of the country partnership strategy.

A $197m loan to upgrade a national highway in Balochistan was also signed between the government and the Asian lender.

The project will rehabilitate 79km of the two-lane highway in Zhob-Mughalkot (N50) and another 128km in Qila Saifullah Waghum (N70).

`Over the past decades, the ADB has supported the government`s initiative for equitable provincial development,` said Mr Zhang. `This project is a step toward boosting economic growth, regional integration, and reducing poverty while bringing substantial social and economic development for the people of Balochistan.`-Reporter

Published in Dawn