ADB: (ADB, DFID provide funding for Pakistan Economic Corridor)

ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Department for International Development (DFID) of the United Kingdom will co-finance the $327 million cost of the 59 kilometre Hassanabdal- Havelian Expressway (E-35) project.

“ADB and DFID are joining hands to promote regional connectivity, economic growth, and stability in Pakistan. “Our partnership with DFID for the E-35 is an important step in this direction” said Sean O’Sullivan, Director General of ADB’s Central and West Asia Department who witnessed the signing of the agreement, says a press releases issued here on Tuesday.

Pakistan’s Finance Minister and ADB Governor Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar and Head of DFID Pakistan Richard Montgomery were also present on the occasion. The loan agreement was signed by ADB’s Country Director for Pakistan Werner E. Liepach and Secretary Economic Affairs Division Mohammad Saleem Sethi, while the project agreement was signed by Chairman, National Highway Authority Shahid Ashraf Tarar.

ADB had earlier approved $327 million for the project in two tranches of $200 million and $127 million respectively under the multi tranche facility (MFF) for the National Trade Corridor Highway Investment Program (NTCHIP).

This original investment was for the E35 expressway connecting the existing M1 at Hassanabdal (Burhan) to Havelian. DFID’s grant contribution of $121.6 million will allow ADB to fund the extension of the expressway to Abbottabad and Mansehra to the North.

Head of Office, DFID Pakistan said, “The UK’s collaboration will support Pakistan to improve road safety and to create an environment that will transform roads into economic corridors. This partnership will not only help Pakistan promote and expand trade with regional partners, but also to create more jobs and sustainable livelihoods.”

The upgrade to the E35 Expressway will allow Pakistan to act as a transit artery for goods moving between Arabian Seaports in the south and the People’s Republic of China in the north. The Expressway will enable safer, faster and more cost effective inter-regional transportation of goods and services spurring economic activity and opportunities for the people in towns and cities-along the route.