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ADB to support Bhasha dam project

19 September, 2014

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that despite its limited financing capacity it would support the Diamer-Bhasha dam to 'the extent possible'.

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ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that despite its limited financing capacity it would support the Diamer-Bhasha dam to 'the extent possible'.

This was a diplomatic message the Asian Development Bank President Takehiko Nakao conveyed to Pakistan during his meeting with Pre­si­dent Mamoon Hussain and Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday.

The ADB was earlier expec­ted to be the lead financier and consortium leader of the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasha dam project. Wapda's former chairman Shakil Durrani had told a parliamentary committee about two years ago that the ADB "on at least three occasions has committed to providing up to $4bn".

The Diamer-Bhasha is an important project for managing water resources in Pakistan and ADB assured of all help.

The matter was taken up during a meeting with the ADB chief by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar who sought support for the country's top priority project.

"We will need the support of the ADB on the Diamer-Bhasha dam because solving the energy crisis is the top priority of our government," Mr Dar was quoted in an official statement as telling the visiting ADB chief.

Mr Dar said the World Bank would hold a Business Opportunity Conference in Washington on October 8 and government representatives would discuss the project there.

Mr Nakao said that although the ADB could lend only $1bn to a country for a development project, it would continue supporting Pakistan in projects like renewable energy, Jamshoro coal-fired plant and plans of regional connectivity.

He said his institution supported Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project which was important for Pakistan.

"The Diamer-Bhasha is also an important project for managing water resources in Pakistan and we will help to the extent possible," he told the finance minister.

Also read: World marketing of Bhasha dam planned

As far as the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced Persons is concerned, the ADB would gladly extend its expertise for the reconstruction work, he said.

Dar said that Pakistan wanted to proceed with the TAPI and CASA 1,000 (Central Asia South Asia electricity import project) for meeting the country's future energy needs.

The minister said on the economic condition of the country, the government had been following a pro-development macro-economic agenda and improvements could be seen in 16.44 per cent growth in revenue collection, decrease in budget deficit to 5.7pc of GDP, 13.7pc growth in foreign remittances, 4.2pc improvement in large-scale manufacturing output and a 16pc increase in the disbursement of agricultural credit.

The ADB chief was informed that the government had also increased the allocation for social safety net from a mere Rs40bn to Rs118bn over the past 14 months.

He said the government could have added $2.4bn to foreign exchange reserves but recent political situation had delayed three important transactions; the issue of Sukuk, divestment of the OGDCL shares and IMF's next release but he hoped to resolve the issue amicably because a committee had already been constituted on electoral reforms.

The ADB delegation was also briefed on the damage cause by flood in Punjab, AJK and Gilgit Baltistan.

Mr Nakao said the ADB would like to assist in the rehabilitation process for flood-affected persons.

End.


 
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