Saturday, December 11, 2021
MANILA: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $385 million in financing to help improve the livability and community health of five cities in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
According to a statement issued by the ADB, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Project will help construct two clean water supply treatment facilities, three sewerage treatment facilities, and will rehabilitate dysfunctional tube wells among several other important subprojects in the cities of Abbottabad, Kohat, Mardan, Mingora, and Peshawar.
“More than 3.5 million people will benefit from improved access to clean and safe water, reliable and integrated waste management and sanitation services, green urban spaces, and gender-friendly urban facilities,” it said, adding that about 150,000 households will gain new connections to water supply systems and have smart water meters installed in their homes.
ADB Director General for Central and West Asia Yevgeniy Zhukov said: “Large urban projects are often delayed due to their inherent complexity and competing interests in limited urban space.”
“This project has used ADB’s project readiness financing facility to ensure detailed engineering design, safeguards assessments, and other critical preparatory work was completed in advance — a first for the central and west Asia region. That will ensure the transformative benefits of this project will flow to the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province more quickly,” Zhukov added.
ADB will provide a $380 million loan and a $5 million grant, while the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will provide co-financing of $200 million, subject to approval of their board of directors.
Together with $65 million in financing from the Government of Pakistan, this represents ADB’s largest urban project ($650 million equivalent) in Pakistan.
ADB’s loan includes more than $106 million for climate adaptation and mitigation, the bank’s largest climate financing contribution in any urban project in 2021, reaffirming its commitment to helping its developing member countries fight climate change.
“With a strong focus on gender, the project will boost women’s access to economic opportunities and increase their participation in urban governance by upgrading a centre dedicated to women’s skills development,” the ADB statement read.
In a similar development, the ADB on Friday approved a $300 million policy-based loan to support financial, technical, and governance reforms to strengthen Pakistan’s energy sector and improve its financial sustainability.
“The financing is part of the second sub-programme of ADB’s Energy Sector Reforms and Financial Sustainability Programme, which aims to improve the governance of Pakistan’s energy sector and reduce and manage the accumulated cash shortfall across the power supply chain known as circular debt,” the Manilla-based bank said, adding that the first sub-programme in the amount of $300 million was approved in December 2019.
“As Pakistan’s key development partner in the energy sector, ADB has been supporting the government to expand access to reliable, affordable electricity and help enact reforms that make the sector more efficient and sustainable,” said Zhukov.
“This programme will help facilitate public and private sector investment across the energy sector value chain through key policies and integrated planning, and will help expand renewable energy generation,” he added.