ISLAMABAD: Saudi Arabia announced on Thursday that it will provide $122 million in financial assistance to Pakistan for development projects in various fields.

The financing would comprise five grants of $67 million and a $55 million loan.

The agreements for the grants and loan were signed here on Thursday by the vice-chairman and managing director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Eng Yousaf Ibrahim Al-Bassam, and Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division Tariq Bajwa. Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was also present at the signing ceremony.

The five grants will be used for the construction of a Home Economics and Management Sciences College in Islamabad and houses and government buildings in Balochistan.

Grants to be used for construction of college in Islamabad and govt buildings in Balochistan

The loan of $55m will be used for construction of two tunnels at Chella Bandi-Patika Road near Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr Dar praised Saudi assistance for social sector development, including energy generation projects such as the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project.

He said that $20m would be used for the Islamabad General Hospital, $6m for the Home Economic and Management College, Islama­bad, $25m for building houses in Balochistan’s earthquake-affected areas of Awaran and $1m for restoration of livelihood in the province.

Mr Al-Bassam said that Saudi Arabia had also joined hands with UN agencies to mitigate the effects of natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes in some areas of Pakistan. He said that the initiative was also aimed at helping internally displaced people.

Published in Dawn, March 11th, 2016