Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on Thursday signed an Additional Loan Agreement of $100 million for Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) as the project aims to provide fast-growing energy requirements in the country by generating 969 MW of electricity.
The Saudi Arabia has already been co-financing this project with an amount of $81 million. The agreement was signed by Eng. Yousef Ibrahim al-Bassam, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) and Nargis Sethi, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division.
The Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project (NJHP) aims to provide the fast-growing energy requirements in Pakistan. It is expected to generate 969 MW of electricity for national power grid. Recognizing the importance of NJHP, the government is working to make sure that the Neelum-Jhelum Hydropower Project starts generating electricity by the end of 2015.
It is worth mentioning here that former PPP government had encountered a host of problems in generating funds for Neelum Jhelum hydropower project and the delay caused a sharp increase in the project cost, which jumped 225pc to Rs274.8 billion against earlier estimates of Rs84.5 billion. “The prime minister has asked the Ministry of Water and Power to probe the delay, which did not only send the cost soaring, but also sparked the worst energy crisis in the country,” the sources in Water and Power Ministry said. Prime Minister has directed to complete this project before the schedule time.
The project has a total cost of Rs. 274 billion with a planned foreign funding of $1,585 million. In this regard various donors including IDB, Saudi Fund, OPEC Fund, Kuwait Fund and China Exim Bank have committed $1060 million. However, there is still a financial gap of $475 million. Pakistan is engaged with Kuwait Fund, Abu Dhabi Fund, Exim Bank Korea, China Exim Bank, Governments of Japan and Qatar to bridge this gap. During the ceremony Eng. Yousef Ibrahim al-Bassam, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) announced a grant of $100 million for social sector in the fields of health and education.
Welcoming the Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SFD the Secretary EAD said that the presence of Ambassador at this signing ceremony reflects the magnitude of our relationship with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She said that Pakistan looks forward to the Saudi Arabia as brother. “It has always come forward to our assistance which Pakistani people always acknowledge with gratitude”.
She also highlighted the present government’s development agenda and its serious endeavours to bring socio-economic development by undertaking people oriented policies.
Eng. Yousef Ibrahim al-Bassam, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, SFD on this occasion expressed the commitment of the government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for the progress and development of people of Pakistan.
Saudi Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Aziz Ibrahim Al Ghadeer attended the signing ceremony. The ceremony was also attended by Saif Ullah Chattha, Secretary Water & Power, Syed Raghib Abbas Shah, Chairman WAPDA and Muhammad Zubair, CEO Neelum Jhelum Hydropower along with other senior officers.
Courtesy: The Nation