ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and the Pakistan government have launched formal talks on co-financing the last section of the M4 (the Motorway) between Shorkot and Khanewal in Punjab at an estimated cost of $273 million.
An official of the National Highway Authority (NHA), who spoke with The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity, said that the initial meeting between ADB and AIIB representatives and officials of NHA and Economic Affairs Division (EAD) was held recently.
The China-backed AIIB and ADB had signed an agreement in Germany for co-financing the 64-kilometer-long highway in May this year.
The official said that ADB and AIIB officials had formally suggested about co-financing the project to the EAD and NHA.
Currently, the proposal is with the EAD and its board of governance after reviewing it will officially sign an agreement with both the banks, he said.
Meanwhile, Director Public Relations of NHA Kashif Zaman told The Express Tribune that the estimated PC-1 cost (Engineer’s estimate) of this section was Rs28 billion, adding that negotiations were currently being held between NHA and ADB and AIIB.
He said that the Faisalabad-Multan section of the Motorway (M-4) was 240-km-long and divided into five sections. Three of its sections — Faisalabad-Pindi Bhattian (53km), Faisalabad-Gojra (58km) and Khanewal-Multan (55.6 km) — have already been completed and opened for traffic, he said.
Zaman said that the section between Gojra-Shorkot (62km) was under construction and the prime minister had laid its foundation stone in November last year. “It is expected to be completed by November 2017.”
“The ADB and AIIB have expressed their willingness to jointly finance the remaining section of M-4 that is between Shorkot and Khanewal,” he said.
“This section is divided into two packages to ensure quality and timely completion,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 28th, 2016.