• PM sees people’s socioeconomic uplift through such aid
• 112 firms, individuals ready to work in construction sector
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said Pakistan valued its partnership with the World Bank and the government would continue it aimed at the socioeconomic uplift of people.
The prime minister stated this while witnessing the signing of two financing agreements worth $1,150 million with the World Bank.
The KP Hydropower and Renewable Energy Development Project of $450m aims to increase renewable energy generation and strengthen the capacity of associated institutions in the province.
The project is a transformational programme that will help build capacity and institutions for harvesting the vast renewable energy potential of KP.
The project will support the construction of 88MW Gabral-Kalam Hydropower Project and 157MW Madyan Hydropower Project. It would provide planning and management capability to help transform the Pakhtunkhwa Energy Development Organisation into a world class entity for development of renewable energy resources, an official press release said.
Similarly, evacuation of power from the Dasu Hydropower (Phase-I) Project of $700m is meant for transmission of power from the 2,160MW hydropower project to respective load centers of power distribution companies by construction of 765kV double circuit transmission line from the Dasu project to Islamabad via Mansehra. It will also facilitate in evacuation of power from new upcoming projects in that area.
Noor Ahmed, secretary of Economic Affairs Division, signed the two loan agreements on behalf of the government of Pakistan while the representatives of the KP government, Wapda and National Transmission and Dispatch Company signed their respective project agreements. Najy Benhassine, country director, World Bank, signed the agreements on behalf of the World Bank.
According to the PM Office, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan and Advisor to KP CM Himayat Ullah Khan were also present.
The concessional financing being provided by the World Bank for the two projects will support hydropower and renewable energy development in KP and evacuation and transmission of power from Dasu Hydropower Project.
The country director of the WB reiterated his institution’s commitment to support Pakistan and appreciated the government’s resolve, efforts and measures in the fight against Covid-19 and continuing efforts for structural reforms.
Mr Bakhtyar, while thanking the World Bank for its continued support, said the government was committed to continuing the structural reforms process.
Housing sector project reviewed
At a weekly meeting of the National Coordination Committee on housing, construction and development, the prime minister was informed that under a relief package announced by the government to boost the construction industry, 112 companies and individuals have so far been registered with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). These companies would start work on 123 housing and construction projects in the country.
During the meeting, FBR chairman Javed Ghani told the prime minister about the online registration system and awareness seminars. He was told that awareness seminars on housing and construction projects had been held in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad.
The chief secretary of Sindh told the meeting that the one-window portal for investors was in place in the province under which 19 projects had been approved and No Objection Certificates (NOCs) for 75 projects issued.
For monitoring the projects, he said, a committee that also included private sector representatives had been set up.
The chief secretary of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa told the meeting that with a reasonable increase in the sale of cement, bricks and steel, the total investment in housing and construction projects in the province had reached Rs83 billion.
State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Baqir Reza told the meeting that consultation process with the private banks regarding housing loans on easy installments had been completed and their reservations removed.
To facilitate the investors, the prime minister said, the process of issuing NOCs for housing and construction projects should be made transparent, easy and less time consuming.
Meeting with industrialists
In a separate meeting with the country’s prominent industrialists, Prime Minister Khan reiterated the government’s resolve to provide all out support and facilities to the investors. “Only those countries progress who facilitate investors and industrialists,” he said.
The prime minister stressed the need for coordination between industries and universities in the country so that the youth could be imparted better training.
Prominent the industrialists who attended the meeting were Sanaullah Chaudhry of United Motorcycle, Abdul Rehman, chairman, Pakistan Association of Automotive Parts and Accessories Manufacturers, Moeen Zafar (Pakistan Furniture Manufacturers Association), Mian Iftikhar Ahmed (Pakistan Tyres Manufacturers Association), Murtaza Paracha (All Pakistan Importers Association), Amir Ullah (Mobile Manufacturers Association), Ahteshamuddin (Pakistan Plastic Manufacturers Association) and Sardar Yasir Ilyas (Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industries).
PM visits shelter home
Prime Minister Khan also visited the Panahgah (shelter home) at Peshawar More, Sector G-9, Islamabad, and inspected facilities being provided to its inhabitants.
The prime minister took food being served to those living in Panahgah and directed the authorities concerned to provide best possible facilities to the homeless people there.
Special Assistant to the PM on Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation Dr Sania Nishtar was also present on the occasion.
A senior official of the local administration told Dawn that out of five Panahgahs in the federal capital, the administrative control of four had been handed over to Pakistan Baitul Mal. “We have given four Panahgahs in Sector G-9, Barakahu, Sector I-11 (Sabzi Mandi) and Tarlai to Baitul Maal while the fifth one at Turnol will be handed over to it in December,” he added.
Prime Minister Khan called Panagahs and Langar Khanas a “divine service”.
“Pro-poor facilities would rather prove counter-productive if they are provided a filthy or unhealthy atmosphere to the beneficiaries,” he added.
Mr Khan said the government would never have to worry about the funding of such facilities if it succeeded to win people’s confidence regarding efficiency and transparency as it would attract the donors to join the noble initiative.
Published in Dawn, October 16th, 2020