ISLAMABAD: With the multi-billion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) already under way, Pakistan has engaged the services of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to prepare a master plan for the transport sector and a scheme for development of clean energy.
The federal government and ADB signed an agreement on Tuesday, with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in attendance. Under the agreement, the Manila-based agency would provide a $325 million loan to facilitate the ‘Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme’. The plan would mostly finance off-grid renewable energy sources in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab.
ADB Country Director, Werner Liepach said the most significant aspect of clean energy project is that it would benefit 2.6 million students, including 1.2 million girls.
Of the $325m loan, $237.3m would be spent on projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the remaining amount in Punjab.
The project’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa component will involve installation of around 1,000 micro-hydropower plants in off-grid locations, and installation of solar energy units in about 8,187 schools and public health facilities.
In Punjab, solar energy units will be installed in about 17,400 schools and public health facilities. At least 30pc of these schools are for girls only.
The programme will be implemented over a period of five years (2017-2021) and includes provision of training to women to draw benefit from the availability of electricity.
The project will also provide for strengthening of the procurement, monitoring and internal audit functions of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab including the establishment of an information and communications technology driven programme performance monitoring system.
The two-year project for formulation of National Transport Policy was kicked off at the Planning Commission and will cover all transport areas – railways, roads, ports and shipping, aviation, and logistics services.
The project inception function was attended by DFID Country Head, Joanna Reid, ADB Country Directors, Werner E Liepach, and Minister for Planning, Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday.
The formulation of the transport master plan will be funded by United Kingdom through a $15.4m package while the ADB will provide technical expertise and other assistance. The project is expected to curtail Pakistan’s transport losses, currently estimated at four to six per cent of the GDP.
The project seeks to create a safe, efficient and sustainable transport system to realise Pakistan’s Vision 2025 that envisages a comprehensive National Transport Policy and master plan that will help cut travel time and costs and boost the country’s economic outlook by positioning it as a regional hub for trade and business.
The UK government through its Department for International Development (DFID) is funding the project under its Pakistan Economic Corridors Programme (PECP).
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2017