September 2006 News

ADB offers to co-finance Diamer-Bhasha dam

7 September 2006
The News International

Islamabad: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to fund the Diamer-Bhasha dam and will take up the matter with the World Bank for co-financing Pakistan's first mega water reservoir in Northern Areas. The Central Development Working Party (CDWP), which is meeting on Sept 23, will recommend to Ecnec to approve land acquisition for the dam. The government has already earmarked Rs 10 billion in the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) to exclusively purchase the land required for the five dams that President Pervez Musharraf had announced early this year. The ADB expressed its resolve to fund the Diamer-Bhasha dam in an important meeting of its seven-member delegation headed by Juan Miranda with Water and Power Minister Liaquat Ali Jatoi here on Thursday. Miranda said a working group would be established, comprising the federal ministries concerned and development partners, to work out modalities to finance the dams construction. The Asian Development Bank has also offered an investment of $3 billion in the water and power sectors in Pakistan during the next three to five years. The delegation assured the minister of technical and financial support for major water and power projects, including the upgradation of distribution systems and transmission lines, besides major rehabilitation and infrastructure projects in the water sector. Investment opportunities and progress on ongoing water and power projects were also discussed in the meeting. The minister, welcoming the delegation, said Pakistan was making rapid economic growth under the able leadership of the president and the prime minister and resultant economic activities were contributing to high GDP growth targets. He stated that the confidence of the domestic as wellas foreign investors was gaining new heights and the economy backed by transparent policies and good governance was now more stable. He also informed the delegation that Pakistan was also focusing on alternate energy projects like wind power, solar energy, coal-based power generation and hydel power, He hoped that the ADBs support in that sector would be a great help. The power sector is currently undergoing reforms and restructuring, which are fully supported by the ADB, he said, adding that to achieve the economic growth targets set by the government, the power sector needs to increase its generation capacity, efficiency and coverage. The minister also stressed coordinated meetings of donors for expediting work on the Diamer-Basha dam and urged an active ADB role in this regard. Miranda said the ADB would focus on financial assistance of $500 million for renewable energy development, $1,200 million for power transmission enhancement, $250 million for power distribution enhancement and $800 million for irrigated agriculture and water resources projects, besides extending support for a number of technical assistance programmes for capacity building and relevant studies. The bank will discuss with the World Bank the matter of co- financing of the mega water projects and to work out a joint strategy for this purpose. He also apprised the minister of the mechanism of the internal system of the ADB for making investment in such projects.


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