PM launches Pakistan’s first Green Eurobond

Says move to help in construction of Diamer Bhasha, Mohmand dams


News Desk May 31, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a ceremony in Quetta, on April 28, 2021. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday formally launched the country's first Green Eurobond (Indus bond) by Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) to meet the financial needs relating to the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams.

The bond has been floated for 10 years to raise $500 million at a competitive price of about 7.5 percent interest rate.

At the launch ceremony of the bond held at the PM House, Premier Imran lauded the Wapda chairman and his team for the landmark achievement of securing bonds in the international market.

PM Imran expressed satisfaction over the interest of leading international investors in Pakistan's Green Eurobond, saying it reflected their confidence in the government and Wapda.

He lauded Wapda for the fast pace of construction of dams, saying it was vital to produce clean energy for a green environment and save the coming generations.

The prime minister said the "decade of dams" project, initiated in 2018 should have been worked up five decades ago to ensure water security.

"Ten dams to be built in the next 10 years will produce 10,000 megawatts clean electricity. It is a step of thinking about our next generations," he emphasised.

He stressed long-term planning instead of short-term election-to-election approach to carry out development projects in the country, regretting that Pakistan's short-term planning in electricity generation resulted in the commodity's highest per unit rate as compared with the rest of the countries in South Asia.

Imran said clean energy production supplemented by the 10 Billion Tree project would help overcome impact of climate change and also the rising levels of pollution in big cities.

The establishment of 15 new national parks, recharging of wetlands and growing the dense mangroves are the government's effective steps to counter global warming, he added.

The prime minister touched upon other areas where the government was focusing to bring about a change including uniform academic syllabus, health card scheme, controlling mother and child mortality rate, and reforms for promotion of agriculture and livestock.

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who was also present on the occasion, said success in securing the interest of international companies in Wapda's bond showed confidence of the international community in the leadership of Premier Imran.

He said completion of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams was critical for meeting the country's water requirements, adding that the launch of bond would help increase the funding for water reservoirs.
Wapda Chairman Lt Gen (retd) Muzammil Hussain said, “The launch of the debut Green Eurobond by Wapda is a major achievement wherein a para-statal organisation accessed the international bond market on its own credentials without any financial obligation on the government.”

He mentioned that top investment banking company JP Morgan showed interest in a project of Pakistan after 25 years, adding that the bond enhanced the country's economic profile.

JP Morgan Bank Vice Chairman Mark Stephen Garvin in a video message shown on the occasion congratulated Pakistan on the launch of the bond and lauded Wapda's "unwavering commitment despite challenges".

According to a report by Wapda, the Reg S (Regulation S) 10-year dollar-denominated green bond has been launched at a very competitive price of 7.5 per cent, which is unprecedented given Pakistan's sovereign bond maturing in 2031 has a coupon of 7.375 per cent.

"This will go a long way in diversifying the funding sources for undertaking huge capital-intensive projects," the report read.

The report states that there was a tremendous appetite for Wapda's Indus bond with the order book oversubscribed six times reaching close to $3bn. This included credible and top companies, including Goldman Sachs, Blackrock, Bluebay, Fidelity, Ashmore, Amundi and UBS."It is a gold-plated transaction and Wapda appointed top [international] banks led by JP Morgan, who have come back to Pakistan after a hiatus. The co-book runners included Deutsche and Standard Chartered with HBL as co-Manager," the report said.

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