The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is on board and supportive of the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam. “We have now moved ahead and work to find a way to structure it and we are already looking at various models in this regard”, said Mr Xiaoyu Zhao, Vice President (Perations-1) of the Bank.
Xiaoyu Zhao during meeting with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar at his office on Tuesday said that ADB was appreciative of the bold steps taken by the present government for reviving the economy especially for successfully clearing the circular debt which was crucial for bringing in new investors and financing in the energy sector.
Xiaoyu said he was gratified to learn that new government had zero tolerance for corruption and it was committed to transparency and that this message would reap rich dividends for Pakistan.
The ADB vice president said time had come to begin a new relationship with Pakistan and reverse the present trend of negative inflows. He also assured that the bank would soon release $430 million for income support programme as it shared the policy of the present government to support the poorer sections of the society.
He said the ADB was committed to TAPI which would encourage energy connectivity in the region.
Senator Ishaq Dar apprised the vice president that 1700 MW were added to the national grid after clearance of circular debt. We are working to check leakages, reduce line losses and eradicate theft as a part of our energy policy.
Dilating on the future plans at hand for construction of new power plants, the finance minister said that Nandipur Project having a capacity ranging from 425 to 525MWs, Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project of 969 MW, Karachi Coastal Projects of 2017 MW were under various stages of implementation.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, the finance minister said, had recently inaugurated Pakistan Power Park in Gadani where 10 coal-fire thermal power plants would be installed. The government had already acquired 1,800 acres of land and intends to acquire the remaining 3,200 acres for the park shortly. A jetty is also being constructed so that import of coal for these plants can be facilitated.
A lot of interest is being shown by foreign and local investors to set up thermal power plants in Pakistan including Chinese and other foreign investors.
Dar said our present focus and priority was on the construction of Diamer Bhasha Dam and they would fast track this project.
The finance minister informed the ADB vice president that during his recent visit to Karachi Stock Exchange, he had discussed the possibility of raising capital for infrastructure projects and was encouraged to learn that the markets had substantial appetite.
Senator Ishaq Dar said that Asian Development Bank’s contribution as a development partner of Pakistan had been phenomenal.