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Pak seeking $2bn from AIIB-Swiss banks for Diamer-Bhasha-Munda dams

21 July, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is seeking up to $2 billion from Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Swiss banks and may impose a special surcharge on electricity consumption to meet funding needs of Diamer-Bhasha and Munda dams.

Speaking to media after the second meeting of Implementation Committee of the Diamer-Bhasha and Mohmand Dams (ICBDMD) appointed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan, Water and Power Development Authority of Pakistan (Wapda) chairman Wapda Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain said the fund raising campaign had received a welcome response from the public that has so far donated Rs260 million.

He said the country was facing difficult water situation and all measures were being taken to start work on water reservoirs and implement water policy. He said a financing structure had been presented to the chief justice of Pakistan.

He said an amount of $1.5-2bn was required from external resources and the authorities were in touch with AIIB and Swiss banks to arrange these funds. He said the sub-committee on financing of dams would make recommendation about the possibility of imposing a nominal surcharge on electricity consumption to meet any local funding shortfall on the pattern of Neelum-Jhelum Surcharge.

Mr Hussain, who is also head of the committee, said the public had played a crucial role in the completion of Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower project which was now contributing 736MW to the national grid and would soon reach its optimum capacity of 969MW.

He deplored that international lenders had declined to finance Diamer-Bhasha project after 12 years of engagement. Responding to a question, he said issues of refinancing, payments for resettlements and disputes among different local tribes were delaying construction of DBD.

He said that the sub-committee on finances would give recommendation whether to impose surcharge or not on the consumers to raise funding for these dams. He said that land for DBD belonged to Pakistan and therefore not disputed.Mr Hussain said the implementation committee was committed to accomplishing the task assigned to it by the Supreme Court for early commencement and timely completion of Diamer- Bhasha and Mohmand dam projects and was actively weighing various options for the purpose.

He said it was a matter of satisfaction that sub-committees constituted during the first meeting of ICDBMD on July 12 had moved swiftly for identifying the issues and were coming up with the solutions. Sub-committees also presented their reports.

He said a sub-committee briefed the meeting about the current status of the land acquisition and resettlement of both the projects and the impediments in the way to completion of this process and suggested ways and means to speed up the process for completion of land acquisition and resettlement with defined timelines.

Another sub-committee submit its analyses regarding procurement strategies and processes and proposed measures for their timely completion by identifying the issues and defining the redressal mechanism with timelines.

The meeting was informed by a sub-committee on projects’ financing about the measures required to achieve financial close of these projects in time, identified gaps in arranging the requisite financing and suggested timelines to ensure financial close at the earliest.

Yet a fourth sub-committee on security shared with the participants the security measures needed for timely completion of the projects and how to provide legal advice, logistic support and ancillary services to the implementation committee.

Based on these recommendations, the implementation committee would finalise the report that would also be shared with the apex court to speed the project implementation.

The meeting was attended by the members of the committee including Additional Secretary Budget of Finance Division, Joint Secretary Water of Ministry of Water Resources, Joint Secretary Prime Minister’s Office, Senior Chief Water Planning Division, Addit­ional Chief Secretary Development Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Senior Member Board of Revenue Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

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