ISLAMABAD: The Government of Pakistan (GoP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a Letter of Exchange for the establishment of Pakistan National Fund for Disaster Management (PNFDM), a programme loan for “Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Programme- Subprogram II” and two project loans of “Advance Metering Infrastructure Project and New Customer Information and Billing System for Entire Company in IESCO and LESCO”, says a press release issued here on Thursday.

The Letter of Exchange and Loan Agreements were signed by the Secretary, Economic Affairs Division (EAD), Mr. Tariq Bajwa and Country Director, Asian Development Bank (ADB) Dr. Werner E. Liepach. Federal Minister for Finance, Economic Affairs, Revenue, Statistics and Privatization, Senator Ishaq Dar witnessed the signing ceremony. The representatives of Japan, Belgium, Norway and Australia were also present in the ceremony.

The PNFDM will be a Government –led and owned long term instrument for Disaster Management. The Fund will facilitate   the implementation priorities and objectives set out in the National Disaster Management Plan (NDMP) approved in 2013.

The program Loan “Sustainable Energy Sector Reform Program- Subprogram II”, amounting to US$ 400 million will support the implementation of the objectives of the GoP National Power Policy 2013 to develop an efficient and consumer oriented power system to meet the need of the people and economy. The operation particularly focuses on policy and institutional actions that will restore financial viability and thus reduce the burden of public financing for the energy sector. Within this overall strategic focus, the action prioritized would   ensure a sustainable least cost generation mix for affordability, a transparent and predictable policy and regulatory framework to attract financial investments, protect consumers and strengthen the credit worthiness of companies in the power sector.

The project loans of “Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project in Rawalpindi Circle and New Customer Information and Billing System for entire Company in IESCO” amounting to US$ 88.8 and “Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project in Second and Fifth Circle and New Customer Information and Billing System for entire Company in LESCO” amounting to US$ 310.4 million will result in the reduction of power losses and will efficiently balance electric supply in the chosen area consisting of Smart Meters, Communications based on Power-line Communication (PLC), Global Packet Radio System (GPRS), Meter Date Management System (MDMS), Time Synchronization System and Customer Information System (CIS).

Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister expressed gratitude to ADB and other contributing Development Partners for providing vital support to Pakistan for the cause of Disaster Management and in the energy sector. The Country Director, ADB assured Government of Pakistan of Asian Development Bank’s support and appreciated the efforts of the Government for taking practical measures to deal with natural and man-made calamities and address energy crisis in Pakistan.