4320 MW Dasu Hydropower Project makes major headway

4320 MW Dasu Hydropower Project makes major headway

LAHORE: (APP) Pakistan Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) secured Rs 144 billion for 4320MW Dasu Hydropower Project by signing an agreement of local debt financing with a consortium of major local banks led by Habib Bank Limited (HBL) here at WAPDA House on Wednesday.

WAPDA Chairman Lt Gen Muzammil Hussain (R), HBL President Nauman Dar, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed Khan and representatives of other banks- United Bank Limited, Bank Al-Falah, Askari Bank, Faysal Bank and Meezan Bank- in the consortium signed the agreement on behalf of their organizations.

WAPDA member (finance), member (power) and senior officers of WAPDA and the banks also attended the ceremony.

On the occasion, the WAPDA chairman said that today was a historical day vis-a-vis arrangement of funds for development of hydropower resources in Pakistan, asserting that this was by far the biggest single loan agreement for any public sector entity in the history of Pakistan.

He expressed gratitude to Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Federal Ministries for Water & Power and Finance for their support to arrange finances for Dasu Hydropower Project.

He said the agreement reflected the confidence of financial institutions on the financial strength of WAPDA.

Muzammil said the Dasu Hydropower Project would be completed in two stages - each of them having generation capacity of 2160 MW - on River Indus in Kohsitan district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The Stage-I would be completed in five years with an estimated cost of US$ 4.2 billion for which World Bank was providing a credit of US$ 1 billion, while remaining funds were being arranged by WAPDA from its own resources and with help of the sovereign guarantee of Government of Pakistan, he added.

Apart from the local financing of Rs 144 billion, a foreign loan to the tune of US$ 350 million had also been finalized and an agreement to this effect would be signed very soon, he elaborated.

Later talking to media, the chairman said that with concerted efforts during the last six months, the impediments in the way to completion of under-construction projects of WAPDA in water and hydropower sector had been removed and these were now approaching towards their completion.

Besides completing Phase-I of Kachhi Canal in August-December 2017, which would irrigate 72,000 areas of land in backward areas of Balochistan, WAPDA would also complete the 969 MW-Neelum Jhelum Hydropower Project, the 1410 MW-Tarbela 4th Extension Hydropower Project and the 106 MW-Golen Gol Hydropower Project in a phased manner from end 2017 to mid 2018, he said.

To a question, he said that low cost hydel electricity to be added into national grid through these projects would not only help overcome electricity in the country but also contribute significantly for development of economic and social sectors in Pakistan.

To another question, he said that Diamir-Bhasha Dam was very important dam to enhance life of Tarbela Dam and all other low-lying dams in the country, and work on this critical project would be started by end the current year in two phases- water reservoir and hydropower generation component. The financial model of the dam would also be formulated on the Dasu pattern of maximum local financial arrangements, he maintained.

Earlier, addressing the ceremony, the Consortium lead bank HBL President Noman Dar said that HBL was supporting the institutions having the capability to stand on their feet and WAPDA was one of them.

While, the NBP President Saeed Ahmed Khan was of the view that healthy competition among banks was a good thing.

"In near future, we will be complementing each other and working together for country's development and overall national economic growth."