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ISLAMABAD: The International Development Association has extended closing dates of two financing agreements of Central Asia-South Asian Electricity Transmission and Trade Project (CASA-1000) to December 31, 2025 from March 31, 2023.

The World Bank’s Country Director, Najy Benhassine, in a letter to Secretary of Economic Affairs, Dr Kazim Niaz has referred to the Financing Agreement, i.e., original financing agreement between Pakistan and the International Development Association of May 11, 2015 as amended for the CASA and financing agreement (additional financing agreement) and Pakistan and International Development Association of November 26, 2019 as amended for the additional financing for the project.

The Bank has also referred to the letter of Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of February 15, 2023 requesting to extend the closing date of CASA credits provided for under the financing agreement and additional financing agreements.

World Bank extends CASA-1000 closing date

The Bank has informed Secretary EAD that the International Development Association has established on December 31, 2025, as the later date for purpose of Section IV.B.2 of schedule 2 to the original financing agreement and Section III.B.2 of schedule 2 to the additional financing agreement.

NTDC had sought additional financing of $35 million for additional activities of the project which was put on halt due to problems in Afghanistan as both World Bank and USAID had suspended financing in Afghanistan after regime change. However, recently, Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs in a letter informed Islamabad that the new government has decided to honour agreement signed by the previous regime with respect to CASA. In this regard, a meeting has also been held between Afghan Finance Ministry and World Bank.

“The project is delayed by at least two years and discussions were under way with the World Bank for extension in the project period from March 2023 to December 2025,” the sources said, adding that the loan component of IsDB also needs to be extended beyond June, 2023, for which a request is being made to IsDB.

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.

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.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023


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