LAHORE - The Asian Development Bank has extended its infrastructure and service delivery programme worth $500m from two to six cities of Punjab.

PICIIP would improve the efficiency and financial sustainability of cities and effectiveness of urban services including water supply, waste water, solid waste management and transport infrastructure. The programme will be executed under the LG&CD Department supervision.

Earlier, two cities Sialkot and Sahiwal were included in the Punjab Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Programme (PICIIP) spanning to a decade. After the ADB’s nod the programme now will be extended to four more cities including DG Khan, Bahawalpur, Jhang and Sargodha.

The ADB will extend its cities development programme to twelve cities of Punjab gradually. The total cost of the project will be released by the donor agency in four installments.

A study has already been conducted that recommended improvement in 12 intermediate cities. A report prepared in 2011 was the final output of the Project Preparatory Technical Assistance (PPTA) under the Asian Development Bank (ADB) funded PCIIP. The PPTA was aimed to design the investment programme following the ADB guidelines to prepare a programme comprising physical and non-physical investments for financing under ADB’s multi-tranche financing facility.

Official sources told that the PC II was forwarded to the Planning and Development Board (P&D) that approval to establish Programme Management and Implementation Unit (PMIU) be given to execute the project worth Rs 302m. The P&D approved the PMU establishment but reduced the funds to Rs 189m.

They also added that besides establishing a PMIU, City Implementation Units (CIU) in the relevant cities will also be established.

Initially a survey will be conducted of the above mentioned cities and the Provincial Development Working Party (PDWP) has already given approval of the project.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has already conveyed to the Punjab Government about commencement of the Intermediate Cities Improvement Investment Program (PICIIP), activities and mobilisation of the consultant teams for the project. The bank has engaged three teams of consultants - both international and national - to undertake project preparations besides fielding mobilisation mission to Pakistan.

The job of the teams is to undertake activities like climate risk and vulnerability assessment for intermediate cities, integrated city development strategy for the six cities and pre-feasibility studies and other priorities for the intermediate cities.

An officer of the P&D told that more than 50 percent country’s population is housed in Punjab, including 29 million urban populations, out of which nearly 7 million live in 12 intermediate cities, so it was indispensable to improve service deliveries in the urban areas because population growth has badly stressed the urban environment.

Talking about the PICIIP, official sources told it will include preparation of city strategic development plans. PICIIP further includes municipal financial management support including enhancement of the financial information management system, implementation of GIS based property tax system and improvement of own source revenue collection. They added that the ADB‘s PCIIP initiative is consistent with the Pakistan‘s Medium-Term Development Framework (MTDF 2005-10) to support priority investments in key sectors to deliver on vision 2030 to improve intermediate cities in Punjab.

Moreover, the programme will also provide support for rehabilitation, replacement and extension of water supply and sanitation system in six cities. The improvement of solid waste management as well as for the Sialkot water and sanitation company in operations, management and implementation of sub-projects will be done, besides betterment in urban transport and traffic management system.