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Government unsure about finding funds for Diamer-Bhasha dam




  • The Federal government is reportedly unsure about the financing of 4500-megawatt Diamar-Bhasha dam after a categorical ‘no’ from the World Bank (WB) and pre-condition from Asian Development Bank (ADB) to seek NoC from India, sources told Business Recorder on Thursday. 

    Minister for Water and Power Ahmad Mukhtar on Thursday held a meeting to discuss financing of the project and stated that government is determined to construct the mega Water and Power sector projects and all the options would be considered for their financing to complete them within the shortest possible time frame. “World Bank has suggested that the government should float Diaspora bond to finance the project,” said an official on condition of anonymity. Diaspora is a sovereign bond that targets investors who have emigrated to other countries and the relatives of those emigrants. 

    The official also claimed that ADB was committed to financing the dam which was reportedly not in keeping with the Bank’s own communications. Islamic Development Bank (IDB) was the only financial institution which was ready to extend finance. “We are hopeful that financing will be arranged within two-three months,” the official added. 

    Minister stated that construction of mega water projects to deal with water shortage and to produce cheaper electricity is the top priority of the government. He observed that Bhasha Dam was life line for the country’s economy and its construction would reduce dependence on thermal generation, save foreign exchange, create employment and improve the socio- economic conditions of people. 

    The meeting asked Wapda, Economic Affairs Division and Ministry of Water and Power to furnish a report with all the options and commitment from donors to finance the Diamer Bhasha dam. Earlier, Chairman Wapda briefed the meeting on the current status of the project, its benefits, land acquisition, infrastructure development, compensation package, allocation by the government and other related issues. He told the meeting that 35% work on infrastructure development has been completed while the land acquisition and remaining work on infrastructure would be completed by 2013. The meeting was attended by Secretary Water and Power, Additional Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Adviser Bhasha Dam, Chairman Wapda and senior official of Planning Commission, Wapda, Ministry of Finance and Water and Power. 

    Copyright Business Recorder, 2012

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