“We did not really make any commitment. This is a very big project,” ADB president Takehiko Nakao said on Wednesday at a joint news conference with Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on the conclusion of the 15th ministerial meeting of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programme.
He said the US Agency for International Development (USAID) was conducting a feasibility study on the Diamer-Bhasha dam on the river Indus in Gilgit-Baltistan, adding that while it was a very important project for Pakistan’s energy and irrigation requirements, it called for the formation of more partnerships that could provide funding for the project, Dawn online reported.
“We haven’t decided (whether to fund) this project yet because it needs big money,” he said, adding that the ADB might consider joining the financing of this project at a later date.
The ADB was originally seen by Pakistan as the lead financier of the strategic project, which would have a water storage capacity of over six million acre feet and a power output of 4,500MW.
Repeated efforts to rope the World Bank in as a co-lender failed two years ago when the government declined to seek a No Objection Certificate (NoC) from India for the project.
Instead, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar accepted a funding offer from the World Bank to start the Dasu Hydropower project, downstream of Diamer-Bhasha, saying the government would simultaneously go ahead with both projects.