Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has sought financial and technical assistance from the World Bank for launching mega projects and infrastructure development in Karachi.
The chief minister visited the World Bank resident mission here on Tuesday and discussed development projects of Karachi with World Bank Country Director Illango Pathcamuthu.
He said the Sindh government needed the World Bank’s financial and technical assistance for implementation of the projects and asked Mr Pathcamuthu to send a team to Karachi to discuss the projects with the Sindh government so that the government could formalise a request for assistance.
Murad discusses with Asif permission for Sindh Transmission and Despatch Company’s grid connectivity
A spokesperson for the chief minister said the World Bank official assured Mr Shah that the proposals would be considered on a priority basis.
The chief minister also discussed rehabilitation of the Sukkur barrage and canal lining projects with Mr Pathcamuthu.
He said the development portfolio of the World Bank in Sindh was worth $1.14 billion and covered education, health, irrigation, agriculture, skill development and other sectors.
Presently, two World Bank-sponsored projects in the education sector — $400 million education reforms programme and $66m special grant for missing facilities — are being implemented in the province.
The chief minister told Mr Pathcamuthu that Sindh’s desire for development had brought him to the World Bank country office. He acknowledged that the bank had played an important role in the development of the education, health, agriculture and infrastructure sectors in the province.
Mr Shah held separate meetings with federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and federal Water and Power Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif.
He discussed issues related to the National Finance Commission award with Mr Dar and outstanding issues between the provincial government and the water and power ministry with Mr Asif.
Talking to journalists later, Mr Shah thanked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif for directing Mr Asif to resolve the pending issues of his ministry pertaining to the Sindh government. “Today’s meeting was held as a follow-up to a meeting with the prime minister,” he said.
The chief minister said the Sindh government and the water and power ministry were close to settling the issue of power dues. “There remains a minor difference between the claim of the ministry and the amount offered by the provincial government,” he said, adding that the reconciliation of the amount had almost been decided. Mr Asif endorsed the chief minister’s statement.
Mr Shah said his government had established the Sindh Transmission and Despatch Company and was awaiting permission for connecting it to the national grid. The minister had assured him that the issue would be resolved soon, he added.
The chief minister said that he had given a guarantee to the prime minister that Sindh would add between 1,000MW and 1,500MW to the national grid if the issues of tariff of renewable energy projects were decided. “It is encouraging that Khawaja Asif has extended his support and cooperation to resolve the issue.”
He said a good working relationship between the federal and provincial governments had been established which reflected in participation of federal Water and Power Secretary Yunus Dagha and Sindh Energy Secretary Agha Wasif in his meeting with the minister.
Mr Shah also took up with Mr Asif the issue of prolonged hours of power loadshedding in the rural areas of Sindh, saying it had cast a negative impact on daily life and business activities.
The minister assured Mr Shah that he would personally look into the matter.
Loan accord signed with ADB
Also during the day, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed with the federal government an agreement for $197.85m loan for the Sindh Roads Improvement Project. Finance Minister Dar witnessed the signing of the agreement by ADB Country Director Werner E. Liepach and Secretary of Economic Affairs Division Tariq Bajwa.
Mr Dar reiterated the government’s commitment to utilise all available resources for developing the transport sector and improving inter-provincial linkages for enhanced local connectivity.
The connectivity would generate economic activity for the progress of people of Sindh, he said.
The project will help in rehabilitation and up-gradation of roads in Sindh, particularly in Sanghar, Mirpurhhas, Badin and Kandkot-Kashmore districts. In addition, it will also serve to strengthen institutional capacity of the provincial works and services department in project management, road planning and maintenance and ensuring road safety.