‘ADB to increase infrastructure uplift fund to $1 billion’


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) wants to enhance its fund for infrastructure development projects in Pakistan to $1 billion a year, said ADB Pakistan Director Werner E Liepach during a seminar on business opportunities organised by the bank in collaboration with the Association of Consulting Engineers Pakistan (ACEP) on Wednesday.
Liepach said the ADB’s current fund averages between $600-700 million. “We want to scale up our fund for infrastructure development, focus on project assistance and work closely with the construction industry,” he said. He also said the purpose of organising the seminar was to provide information to the consultants about the bidding procedures, which are one of the main problem areas and result in delays in projects and cost overrun.
Responding to a question about the proposed ADB project to connect Pakistan and Central Asia through a trade corridor, he said it was in the pipeline. He said the land settlement issues and the cost need to be addressed for the construction of Peshawar-Torkham corridor, whereas the projects pertaining to the Jalalabad and Kabul roads and the ring road in Kabul are being currently reviewed. When completed, he added, the corridor would be connected to the Central Asian republics.
He pointed out that a rail track between Mazar-e-Sharif and Uzbekistan has been laid at a cost of only $130 million in a record time of nine months. This has been further connected to the Russian railways system up to Moscow, he added. Replying to a query about the energy projects, he said the ADB is funding the upgrade of transmission systems of eight distribution companies. Similarly, he added, the bank has funded nine small hydel projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab under the renewable energy projects.
He said the ADB is also providing financial guarantees for the wind projects in Sindh and up to four such projects with the capacity to produce 50 megawatts electricity each would be on stream shortly. Earlier, Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) Chairman Syed Abdul Qadir Shah urged the consulting firms to abide by the council’s regulations for international bidding. He said the PEC would approach the prime minister’s office for the announcement of service structure for engineers to encourage them to join the government departments.
In his welcome address, ACEP President Inam Osmani highlighted the aims and objectives of the seminar and said the ADB has provided financing of $20.8 billion for infrastructure development in Pakistan. He said the bank has recently announced a fund of $650 million for the flood emergency reconstruction of roads and irrigation network.


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