JICA to provide $ 175 m soft loan for construction of roads, bridges in KPK

TOKYO: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will provide $ 175 million soft loan for construction of damaged roads and bridges in Khyber Pukhtoonkhwa that were swept away by the flash floods.In this connection, an agreement was signed between President of JICA, Mrs Sadako Ogata and Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Sibtain Fazal Halim here on Tuesday.President Asif Ali Zardari and Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan also witnessed the signing ceremony.The 173 million dollars loan will be provided on soft terms at 0.01    % per annum interest rate and is repayable after forty years including a grace period of ten years.It is part of the 500 million dollars already pledged by Japan in the meeting last year of Pakistan Development Forum. Under the project 400 kilometers of rural roads, 120 kilometers of provincial roads and over two kilometers of bridges will be constructed throughout the province that were washed during the recent floods.Earlier, President Zardari asked the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) for continuing development assistance, especially in the fields of infrastructure, education, health and human and water resource.The President said a more closely coordinated regional approach could be one way to tackle the development difficulties of Pakistan.Lauding the role of JICA in undertaking various schemes for socio development of Pakistan, the President urged Mrs Ogata to concentrate on poverty and uplift of rural areas to mitigate sufferings of the poor people.The President said that the assistance of JICA has been instrumental in the recent floods that caused large scale devastation in Pakistan, adding, the commitment of $ 500 million extended by Japan in Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) would be utilized for the flood affected areas.Mrs. Ogata said that JICA is currently working on the implementation of $ one billion commitment made by Japan to Pakistan in Tokyo conference in 2009 and since the commitment, more than $ 500 million of aid has moved into implementation phase.

While acting as a bridge between the people of Pakistan and Japan, she said, JICA in collaboration with the government would continue its efforts to ensure a better future for the people of Pakistan.She said, JICA has been active in Pakistan for many years on projects ranging from major infrastructure programs to grassroots human security projects in such fields as health and education.She said, in Pakistan JICA has a partnership history of over 50 years, implementing Japanese Official Development Assistance (ODA) with a blend of development projects.The schemes of cooperation ranges from technical cooperation grant, aid and ODA loans targeted at tailor made assistance in priority sectors like health, education, environment, water supply and sanitation, irrigation and agriculture, transportation, electric power, industrial development, disaster risk management and training for government officials – APP