Pakistan and Asian Development Bank sign deal for National Highway Network Development in Balochistan for an amount of US$195 million

Islamabad, May 12, 2015 (PPI-OT): Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank signed an agreement on Tuesday, 12thMay, 2015 for National Highway Network Development in Balochistan (Balochistan Roads) Project for an amount of US$195 million.

The loan agreement was signed by the Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD) Muhammad Saleem Sethi and Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Dr. Werner E. Liepach following a meeting between the Federal Finance Minister, Senator Ishaq Dar and Vice President of Asian Development Bank Mr. Wencai Zhang.

The Balochistan Roads Project is part of National Highway Network Development aimed to rehabilitate 79 km of the existing two-lane road of Zhob-Mughal Kot (N50) and 128 km of the existing two-lane road of Qila Saifullah-Waghum (N70) in Balochistan. With tremendous potential for local and regional connectivity, this project will help boost economic growth, reduce poverty which will bring substantial social and economic benefits.

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister appreciated ADB role in the development of important sectors. He assured Pakistan’s commitment to mobilizing required resources for improving local and regional linkages. The Vice President ADB assured Government of Pakistan of the support of his organization and appreciated the Government’s efforts to revamp the existing infrastructure for economic growth and development.

Earlier the Finance Minister had a meeting with Mr. Wencai Zhang who is undertaking his second visit to Pakistan. The Minister underscored the high value Pakistan placed on its partnership with the ADB and spoke of the expectations of continued support from the important development partner.

The Minister said that the Government continued to focus on economic revival and needed to make investments in energy, infrastructure and social protection. The results of the measures taken by the new government were already visible. Structural reforms were on track and economic growth had picked up. In order to maintain the momentum, Dar said the Government would need enhanced support of the development partners.

Mr. Wencai on the occasion appreciated the remarkable economic turnaround that Pakistan had achieved and also noted that Pakistan had received enhanced ratings by international rating agencies. He congratulated the Minister on the successful conclusion of the 7th IMF review.

He said ADB since 1968 had undertaken projects worth 26 billion dollars and in future would like to make increased contribution in sectors like energy, agriculture, rural development and social spheres. Mr. Wencai said that the successful IMF Review would further strengthen international financial institutions confidence in Pakistan. Pakistan has started a new journey towards macro-economic stability and development.

He said the ADB had committed to contribute towards Diamer Bhasha project in the past and in future would be keen to look into new avenues to invest for the betterment of the energy and infrastructure projects. In fact, he said we have been planning to devise strategies that synchronize with the government’s measures to complete projects that are listed on Pakistan government’s priority list. He also said that ADB would like to contribute positively towards Pakistan’s capacity to cope with natural disasters.

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