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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank has agreed to provide $565 million to Pakistan to help build modern water and power infrastructure and remove supply bottlenecks on an urgent basis at a total cost of $688m.

The loan agreements were signed on behalf of the government of Pakistan by Secretary Economic Affairs Division Syed Ghazanfar Abbas Jilani while representatives of the government of Sindh and National Transmission Despatch Company (NTDC) signed the agreements of their respective projects and Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director, on behalf of the World Bank.

Under the agreements, the World Bank will provide $565m, including $425m for the NTDC and $140m for the Sindh government.

NTDC to receive $425m loan and the Sindh government $140m

The first loan of $425m for the National Transmission Modernisation (Phase-I) Project is designed to increase the capacity and reliability of selected segments of the national transmission system in the country and modernize key business processes of the NTDC.

The project will support investments in high-priority transmission infrastructure, information and communication technology (ICT), and technical assistance (TA) for improved management and operations.

Infrastructure investments will create new assets or rehabilitate existing parts of the system transmission substations, transmission lines, or a combination of the two. The project will establish a robust ICT infrastructure and roll out an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to enhance the efficiency of management and operations.

The TA will help the NTDC implement the project and will improve the company’s capacity for sustainable system operation.

The total cost of the project is $536.33m. The World Bank will provide $425m and $111.33m will be borne by the NTDC.

The $140m Sindh Barrages Improvement Project is aimed at improving the reliability and safety of Guddu Barrage and strengthening the Sindh Irrigation Department’s capacity to operate and manage the barrage.

The financing will help to scale up activities under the original project (Sindh Barrages Improvement Project) whose scope at present is limited to rehabilitating and modernising Guddu Barrage.

With this funding, the project will support the rehabilitation and modernisation of Sukkur Barrage and also support improving the operation and maintenance (O&M) of Guddu, Sukkur and Kotri Barrages over the Indus River through better coordination and monitoring.

The total estimated amount of the project is $152.2m. The World Bank will provide $140m and incremental counterpart funds of $12.2m would be borne by the government of Sindh.

Published in Dawn, June 14th, 2018