ISLAMABAD: The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a $15 million loan that will help seven cities in Punjab province in Pakistan design comprehensive investment and public service delivery plans in preparation for upcoming urban development projects, said a press release issued by the ADB on Thursday.
The loan will fund the preparation of spatial master plans, detailed engineering designs, and operational business plans for proposed projects in the cities of Bahawalpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Multan, Muzaffargarh, Rahim Yar Khan, Rawalpindi, and Sargodha.
It will help to ensure a high level of readiness ahead of the ensuing Punjab urban development projects and complement ADB’s existing technical assistance to Pakistan to conduct feasibility studies and explore innovations to improve the quality of urban services.
“The Government of Punjab has taken a proactive role in tackling urban development challenges in the province,” said ADB Senior Urban Development Specialist for Central and West Asia Mr. Jude Kohlhase.
“This loan will help the local governments improve spatial and urban planning, prepare environmental assessments, put in place gender action plans with a special focus on gender equality, and incorporate climate resilient designs for priority investments.”
Pakistan has experienced rapid urbanization as rural populations have migrated within the country to find jobs. Urban development challenges are most pronounced in cities in Punjab province, which account for 53% of Pakistan’s urban population and experience intermittent access to poor quality water, ineffective wastewater and solid waste management, and severe traffic issues because of lack of public transport and poor traffic management.
ADB will help identify integrated smart solutions to strengthen institutions’ urban and spatial planning systems. It will also support the preparation of land acquisition and resettlement plans, feasibility studies, and procurement documents. The upcoming projects are in line with the Pakistan government’s development priorities, which emphasize providing access to safe water, sanitation, urban transport, and a healthy living environment.
“ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members – 49 from the region,” the press release added.
On the sidelines of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting 2020 at Davos last week, ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Advisor to the PM on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh expressed his gratitude to the bank for considering special financing tools of support for Pakistan.
Mr Sheikh termed it “an excellent partnership” and stated they have contributed in a significant way in turnaround in our economy.