Government of Pakistan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Tuesday signed a loan agreement amounting to US$ 325 million for the Access to Clean Energy Investment Program.
The Project will target off-grid areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab and will contribute to Pakistan’s national goal of enhanced energy security.
Of the US$ 325 million loan, US$ 237.3 will be utilized for projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, while the remaining US$ 87.6 million will be used for projects in Punjab. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa component of the project will entail installation of around 1,000 micro-hydropower plants in off-grid locations, and installation of solar facilities in around 8,187 schools and public health facilities.
In Punjab, solar facilities will be installed in around 17,400 schools and public health facilities, with at least 30% of the said schools being girls-only schools. The program will be implemented over a period of 5 years (2017-2021). It includes provision of training to women to equip them to use the benefits resulting from the availability of electricity in each province.
The project will also provide for strengthening of the procurement, monitoring and internal audit functions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Punjab including the establishment of an information and communications technology driven Program performance monitoring system.
Federal Minister for Finance, Revenue, Economic Affairs, Statistics & Privatization, Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar, witnessed the signing ceremony.
On this occasion, the Finance Minister stated that ADB along with other development partners has contributed significantly for economic development in Pakistan. He appreciated ADB’s continued support, especially for energy and infrastructure sectors which are the top most priority of the government.
“ADB has all along been our great partner”, he added. The Minister, on the occasion, referred to the Fitch report which reaffirmed Pakistan’s rating at ‘B’ with a ‘Stable’ outlook. He also mentioned about the Bloomberg report which stated that most of Pakistan’s developments are fairly positive. He stated all this bears testimony to the economic achievements of the present Government through a concerted reforms agenda.
Country Director, ADB, Mr. Werner Liepach, in his brief comments, stated that the most significant aspect of the project being undertaken is that it is people centric and as many as 2.6 million students will benefit from it, of which 1.2 million are girls.
Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) signed the Loan Agreement with Country Director, ADB. Finance Secretary, as well as senior officials of the Economic Affairs Division, Finance Division and ADB was also present.