ISLAMABAD – Pakistan and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Tuesday signed a loan agreement of $325 million to improve facilities in education and health sectors of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Punjab by providing clean energy.

The ‘Results-Based Loan: Access to Clean Energy Investment Programme’ was signed by, Additional Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Anjum Assad Amin and Country Director ADB, Werner E. Liepach.

Speaking on this occasion, Finance Minister Mohammad Ishaq Dar said that $237 million of the loan would be utilised in Khber Pakhtunkhwa on installation of approximately 1,000 micro-hydropower plants while approximately $87 million would be spent in Punjab on installation of solar facilities in approximately 17,400 schools and public health facilities.

Dar thanked the ADB for providing assistance to Pakistan for developing such facilities in Pakistan.

Country Director ADB said this investment would directly target poor people and help to improve their livelihood.

He said there was a close nexus between infrastructure and living standards adding through this project millions of people would have access to better facilities.

As per agreement, the ADB’s financial assistance would target off-grid areas of KP and Punjab and contribute to Pakistan’s national goal of enhanced energy security.

The programme would be implemented over a period of five years (2017-2021) and would be gender sensitive, providing 7 percent (70) micro hydro power plants to the women headed household in KP.

At least 30 percent of schools being installed with solar facilities under the project are schools for girls in each province.

It also includes provision of training to women to equip them to use the benefits resulting from the availability of electricity in each province.

The project would strengthen procurement, monitoring and internal audit functions of both provinces including the establishment of an information and communications technology driven programme performance monitoring system.

The installation of solar facilities in approximately 8,187 schools and public health facilities in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with at least 30% of the said girls schools are also included in the programme.

While in Punjab, the fund would be utilized for installation of solar facilities in approximately 17,400 schools and public health facilities, with at least 30 percent girls’ schools.

It would also include the installation of a solar facility in the University of Bahawalpur. – APP