ISLAMABAD -  Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed two loan agreements for provision of $180 million for CAREC Corridor Development Investment Programme and $200 million for Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Project.

The ADB has committed to provide $800 million for financing infrastructure projects under the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Corridor Development Investment Programme. Under this programme, ADB will provide $180 million as first tranche to National Highway Authority for improving road network along N-55. NHA will construct additional 2-lane carriageway of 66kms along the existing 2-lane of Petaro – Sehwan Road and 43kms along the existing 2-lane of Ratodero – Shikarpur Road. It will also help in rehabilitation of the existing 34kms 4-lane carriageway of Dara Adamkhel –Peshawar Road. This would also provide due diligence advisory services to NHA for preparing projects under subsequent tranches.

The second and third tranches, worth $260 million and $360 million, respectively, are expected to be approved in 2019 and 2021. Pakistan’s trade has been centered on sea traffic while transit trade through the country remains limited as poor and costly transport and cross-border infrastructure and services hinder the realization of this untapped potential. Upgrading the country’s current 263,000 kilometers (km) of road while ensuring transport safety will be critical to the country’s export competitiveness as well as overall economic growth. The multitranche financing facility (MFF) will upgrade and rehabilitate a total of 747 km of road along the CAREC corridor. The investment programme will also focus on strengthening the capacity of the National Highway Authority to conduct due diligence work for subsequent tranches as well as to implement each tranche project under the MFF as designed.

The ADB will also provide $200 million for Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Project. Under this project, the Government of Punjab will improve urban services in Sahiwal and Sialkot cities. It will help to improve water supply, sanitation & waste management system, parks, footpaths, green belts and bus terminals. As a result quality of the life of residents of these cities will improve by making them more livable and sustainable.

The loan agreements were signed by Arif Ahmed Khan, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), and Ms Xiaohong Yang, Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB). The representatives of National Highway Authority and Local Government & Community Development, Punjab also attended the ceremony.

Speaking on the occasion, Arif Ahmed Khan, Secretary EAD appreciated the ADB’s support for improving infrastructure and urban services in Pakistan. He reiterated that the Government of Pakistan is committed to improve regional connectivity by improving physical infrastructure and economic cooperation. Further, Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Project will make Sahiwal and Sialkot more livable and sustainable by providing state of the art urban services.