Islamabad: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Wednesday signed six financing loans to cash-strapped Pakistan worth USD 1.543 billion, to help reform and upgrade the country’s energy sector, roads, civic and health infrastructure.

The agreements were signed by Pakistan Secretary Economic Affairs Mian Asad Hayauddin and ADB Country Director Yong Ye at a meeting here, according to an official statement.

The agreements include USD 300 million policy-based loan to support financial, technical and governance reforms to strengthen Pakistan’s energy sector, USD 385 million financing agreement to improve urban infrastructure in five cities of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, USD 235 million project loan for dualisation of the 222-km Shikarpur-Rajanpur Section of Indus Highway and USD 603 million results-based lending program to strengthen and expand the Ehsaas Programme, a social safety and poverty alleviation scheme.

Two project readiness facilities for preparing Kurram Tangi Integrated Water Resources Development Project worth USD 5 million and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Cities Improvement Investment Project Phase-II costing USD 15 million were also approved.

Minister for Economic Affairs Omar Ayub Khan, who witnessed the signing, thanked the ADB for continued financial support.

Vice President ADB Shixin Chen, on the occasion, said despite a challenging situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Pakistan continues to make progress in implementing comprehensive economic, fiscal and structural reforms.

In August, the ADB sanctioned a USD-500 million loan to help Pakistan buy coronavirus vaccines.

In its first three years in power since 2018, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf government has contracted debt from foreign governments and institutions of over USD 34 billion.

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