Us Pledges $ 200 Million to Finance Initial Work on Diamer Bhasha Dam


The United States has pledged to finance Pakistan's multi-billion Diamer Bhasha Dam project, Finance Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh disclosed here on Wednesday evening at the conclusion of a series of meetings with American officials on advancing bilateral economic cooperation. Dr Shaikh said that the US will provide $ 200 million for completion of preliminary work on the multi-year power generation and water conservation project, which is likely to cost in excess of $ 10 billion. He dismissed the impression that the Asian Development Bank had backed out of its commitment to finance the mega project.

The ADB and the United States would finance feasibility study, surveys and consortium formation for the dam, to be built in Gilgit-Baltistan in an estimated 8-10 years, he told Washington-based Pakistani journalists. Pakistan, the finance minister said, would complete land survey, feasibility and land acquisition processes to pave the way for construction of the dam. "This is a very good development," Shaikh said of the U.S. commitment to the project, as he sat next to Pakistan's ambassador to the United States Sherry Rehman. Washington's financing of the project would be in addition to the ongoing support it is providing to revamp existing dams power generation capacity.

The finance minister also revealed that Pakistan and the United States would launch Pakistan Private Investment Initiative with an amount of $ 80 million within a couple of months. "This will help spur economic activity, generate jobs and contribute to improvement in bilateral ties," Dr. Shaikh said. Islamabad and Washington have also agreed to set up a joint task force to identify products and ways Pakistan may bolster its exports to the U.S. market. In another sign of expanding cooperation between the two countries, the USAID Administrator would be visiting Pakistan to review progress on the ongoing energy and infrastructure...

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