Govt, ADB sign financing agreement for Balakot Hydropower Project

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: As an important development towards the construction of 300 MW Balakot Hydropower project, financing agreement of the project was signed between Government of Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Under the financing agreement, ADB will provide a loan of 300 million US dollar at highly concessional rates for a period of 27 years including a grace period of seven years.

The agreement signing ceremony was held in Islamabad on Friday with Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mahmood Khan and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Umar Ayub as chief guests. Federal Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Noor Ahmad and acting Country Director, ADB, Cleo Kawawaki signed the financing agreement.

Balakot Hydropower project is a run-of-river project which will be constructed on River Kunhar in District Mansehra with a total production capacity of 300 MW. The project will be completed in period of six years with an estimated cost of Rs. 85.00 billion.

Speaking on the occasion, Chief Minister Mahmood Khan termed the signing of financing agreement as an important development for the construction of mega project and said that ground breaking of the project would be performed in the near future and hopefully, Prime Minister Imran Khan would himself perform groundbreaking of the project. He said that Balakot Hydro Power Project would provide more than 1200 job opportunities during its construction period adding that once completed, it will provide reliable and cheap energy to national grid.

“The project shows strong commitment of PTI government to address the challenges of climate challenges by producing clean and renewable energy in line with vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan”, Mahmood Khan said and added that Balakot Hydropower Project would improve Provincial Revenues Streams and boost economic activities in the country.

The Chief Minister further said that the incumbent provincial government was taking result oriented steps under a well devised strategy to effectively use the Hydropower potentials of the province to overcome energy crisis, boost economic activities and provide job opportunities to the people.

Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister Umar Ayub said that the project would not only help unleash hydropower potential of the country but also improve energy security by increasing clean and affordable energy share in the country’s energy mix. He further said that the government was working on renewable energy policy to harness immense potential in solar, wind and hydel resources. Umar Ayub appreciated the ADB’s support for financing this important project.