Despite high hopes of the government to secure assistance from Asian Development Bank for the $13 billion Diamer Bhasha Dam project, President ADB Takehiko Nakao on Tuesday told Pakistan that the Manila-based lending agency can only lend $1 billion to any country for the development projects, and would encourage the country to mobilise its domestic resources for development.
ADB president, who is on his first visit to Pakistan, said that the agency would continue supporting Pakistan in projects like renewable energy, Jamshoro Power Plant and projects of regional connectivity though ADB could lend only $1 billion to any country for development projects.
Talking to Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in Islamabad, Nakao urged Pakistan to mobilise its domestic resources as Pakistan has a vast potential and it could turn itself into a success story in Asia, said a statement issued by the government.
Commenting on much hyped Diamer Bhasha Dam project, Nakao said it is an important project for managing water resources in Pakistan and ADB would help as much as possible. The Manila-based lending agency also extended support for the TAPI project.
During the meeting finance minister told the ADB president that the government would need the ADB’s support on Bhasha Dam project for solving the energy crisis. He informed the ADB president that Pakistan would discuss the Bhasha Dam project at the World Banks’ Business Opportunity Conference to be held in Washington on October 8 this year. “We also want to proceed with the projects of TAPI and CASA-1000 for fulfilling the energy needs of the country in near future,” said Dar.
Briefing Nakao on the economic condition of the country, Dar said that the PML-N government have been following a pro-development macro-economic agenda and improvements can be seen in revenue collection which has increased by 16.44 per cent, decrease in budget deficit by 5.7 per cent, growth in foreign remittances by 13.7 per cent, growth in large scale manufacturing by 4.2 per cent and the disbursement of agricultural credit has also been increased by 15.91 per cent. “Our government has also increased the spending on the social safety net, the allocation has increased from a mere Rs40 billion to Rs118 billion in the last fourteen months of our tenure. We ensured that no cuts were made in the Public Sector Development program allocations.”
The minister lamented that the government could have added $2.4 billion to foreign exchange reserves but recent political situation had delayed the issue of Sukuk, divestment of OGDCL shares and IMF next release. He expressed hoped that the government would solve the issue amicably as it has already constituted a committee on electoral reforms.
Expressing his sympathies for great sympathies for the flood affectees, Nakao said we would like to assist in their rehabilitation process.
As far as the rehabilitation of Internally Displaced People (IDPs) is concerned we would gladly extend our expertise for the reconstruction work, the ADB President remarked.
Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) Major General Saeed Aleem also gave a brief presentation to the ADB President on the recent flood damages in Punjab, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan.
The minister thanked ADB president for his visit and appreciated his resolve to help the flood affectees and IDPs.
The meeting was attended by Governor State Bank of Pakistan, Secretary Petroleum and Natural Resources, Secretary National Food Security and Research, Secretary Finance, Secretary Water & Power, Secretary Planning, Development & Reform, Secretary Communication, Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Chairman WAPDA, Chairman Federal Board of Revenue, Chairman National Highway Authority. From the Asian Development Bank team Chief Advisor to the President ADB Naoya Jinda, Director General, Central West Asia Department, ADB Klaus Gerhaeusser, Country Director, ADB Pakistan Resident Mission Werner Liepach, Country Programs Officer, ADB Pakistan Resident Mission Saad Paracha.