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ISLAMABAD: The World Bank (WB) has extended closing date of $0.6 million Grant Agreement of Central Asia- South Asia, Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) retroactively, from March 31, 2022 to December 31, 2024.

Grant Agreement is between Pakistan (recipient) and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and International Development Association (together the World Bank), acting as administrator of the CASA-1000 Multi Donor Trust on September 12, 2017.

World Bank Country Director, Najy Benhassine in a letter to Secretary Economic Affairs Division, Dr. Kazim Niaz has also referred a letter of Secretary EAD, on February 3, 2022, requesting the World Bank to extend the closing date of the grant agreement of $ 0.6 million.

Informed sources told Business Recorder that National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) has sought additional financing of $35 million for additional activities of the CASA-1000.

CASA-1000: NTDC seeks $35m financing

According to the Aide Memoire, original cost of the project was $185 million, of which $92.66 million has already been disbursed whereas $46.74 million is to be released during current financial year. The closing date of project will be extended by about three years from March 31, 2023 to December 31, 2025.

A World Bank team led by Anthony Granville carried out the implementation mission from June 27 to July 7, 2022 to review the implementation of the project. The main objectives of the mission were to: (i) discuss the implementation of the CASA-1000 Project; (ii) review project status, including procurement, contact management, financial management, disbursement, and reporting under the Projects; (iii) review the implementation status of the Converter Station and Electrode Station and line; (iv) get an update on the implementation of the Resettlement Action Plan (RAP); (v) Account bank procurement; (vi) Technical code; and (vii) the project restructuring process required from Pakistan.

The Bank in its Aide Memoire said that since all contracts have been awarded and are under implementation, the rating of the progress towards achievement of the objective of the project, which is to create the conditions for sustainable electricity trade between the Central Asian countries of Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic and the South Asian countries of Afghanistan and Pakistan is moderately satisfactory, while the overall implementation progress rating is also moderately satisfactory.

The Bank says contract of package TWO1- is the design, engineering and construction of 1,100 megawatt (MW) High Voltage Direct Current (HVDC) converter station and electrode station at Nowshera, Pakistan - signed on September 21, 2018. Currently, the engineering and procurement works are progressing as planned with civil works completed at about 54%, while the installation is at 5% with overall construction progress at about 29%.

NTDC reported to the Mission that there was an incident on two towers on the CASA-1000 500kV HVDC Transmission Line, which is under construction and financed by Islamic Development Bank (ISDB). The contractor of the line had informed NTDC through a letter of June 27, 2022 which was forwarded to the Bank on June 29, 2022 that on June 24, 2022, Towers # 184 and 185 of the 500kV HVDC Transmission Line were targeted by planting explosive material on both towers. Tower #184 sustained severe destruction, while the base of Tower #185 was partially damaged. NTDC security department along with Frontier Corps (FC) are currently investigating the incident and an updated report along with a remedial measure to avoid such incidents in the future would be forwarded to the Bank.

The mission was informed by NTDC of the need for additional funds to complete the CASA-1000 project in Pakistan. This additional fund requirement is largely borne out of the need to meet extra payment for additional activities to make CASA- 1000 operational such as studies and implementation of reverse power flow from Pakistan to Central Asia and others. The expected amount of the additional financing shall be $ 35 million. NTDC will send a request letter for additional financing through its parent Ministry and the Ministry of Economic Affairs to the Bank for consideration.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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