KARACHI: The World Bank on Friday gave approval to $1.93 billion new projects of the Sindh government, including rehabilitation of Guddu and Sukkur barrages, and revamping of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah got this approval during a meeting with a World Bank team led by Bank president David Malpass while discussing $2.77bn ongoing projects here at CM House.

The chief minister said that on their request the World Bank undertook a Karachi Diagnostic Study in 2016 leading to Karachi Transformation Strategy which developed a holistic plan to revitalise the city.

“This plan has helped roll out dedicated reforms and investments in the water and sanitation; urban transport system; and local government governance. These investments having bearing on business environment are expected to impact ease of doing business which is bound to make Karachi the preferred choice of businesses,” Mr Shah said.

Referring to the newly signed $230 million ‘Competitive and Liveable City of Karachi’ project, Mr Shah said the provincial government planned to initiate local government institutional reforms in all six DMCs and the KMC.

This funding for improving the urban and municipal infrastructure at DMC level is expected to upgrade liveability and simultaneously improve the governance of local government institutions.

He said that Karachi Water Services Improvement Project is a $1.6bn programme to be rolled out in three phases. Its first phase of $100m has been approved. This envisages institutional reform of the KWSB; strengthening its HR; technical capacity and improving its planning.

Discussing way forward under Phase 2 of Karachi Water Services Improvement Project, Mr Shah said the Sindh government planned to focus on major investment priorities such as bulk water supply system for Karachi from the Indus and from Hub Dam; improvement in water and sanitation network and augmentation works; Malir basin sewerage conveyance and filtration plants.

“We want to explore possibility of using Phase 1 financing kept for priority works to be used for bulk water supply system from Keenjhar resource,” he said. It was agreed in the meeting.

Discussing the under-execution $98m Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement Project pertaining to improving urban infrastructure and creating greater public spaces, the chief minister said it would guide Sindh in rolling out reforms and investments for local governments.

The World Bank approved $381m Karachi Urban Mobility Project and directed the Sindh government to start its implementation.

The chief minister said that combined with Red line BRT, Green Line, Orange Line, and Karachi Circular Railway, the mass transit system would provide Karachi seamless connectivity between residential districts, business districts, industrial estates, and ports.

$328m financing for Sukkur, Guddu barrages approved

The chief minister through a presentation highlighted the importance of rehabilitation of the Sukkur Barrage for the country, which is considered lifeline of the rural economy and similarly Guddu Barrage, which is also important for agro-economy of the province.

He said that there was a proposal to construct a new barrage at Sukkur but it would be a huge project in terms financial implication. As such the provincial government had decided to rehabilitate the Sukkur and Guddu barrages.

The WB team agreed to finance $328m for rehabilitation of both the barrages.

Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2019