After the dilly-dallying by the multilateral international financial institutions, Pakistan has asked China to include the $14 billion Diamer-Bhasa dam in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal told Senate Standing Committee on CPEC that Pakistan had asked China to include the Diamer-Bhasa Dam in the CPEC projects.
Talking to reporters after the meeting, he said that the Diamer-Bhasa Dam project is a very important project considering the declining irrigation water availability in the country. “It is a matter of life and death for us. We will have to build it.”
The minister said the project could be executed in phases, constructing the dam in the first phase and then installing machines to generate 4,500 MW of electricity. However, he did not reveal if the government had received a response yet from the Chinese side.
For more than a decade, ever since General Pervez Musharraf made an announcement in 2006 to build the Bhasha dam on the Indus River, successive Pakistan governments have made consistent efforts to convince the United States, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank to finance the project.
However, the World Bank has consistently refused to provide any sort of financing for the project. The World Bank did, however, agree to finance a run of the river project, Dassu Hydel Power Project, on the Indus.
Interestingly the World Bank approved a partial financing of $588 million for the first stage construction of the Dassu project. WAPDA was asked to fill the financial gap by arranging financing through commercial banks. WAPDA went to the commercial banks and successfully obtained financing for the project.
The ADB also said while responding to calls for financing of the project that the $14 billion project cannot be financed by a single IFI and that risk will have to be shared jointly. Pakistan attempted to get a token aid of $200 million for the project but even that did not materialise.
CPEC TO EQUALLY BENEFIT ALL PARTS OF COUNTRY:
Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that the Gwadar International Airport will be completed in the next two years.
In an interview, he said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a national project, which will equally benefit all parts of the country. The minister said $35 billion dollars have been allocated for energy projects under CPEC.
He said work on projects of 25,000 MW of electricity is underway, and that 10,000 MW of electricity will be added to the national grid by 2018.