ISLAMABAD: December 13, 2019(Handout)
Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Hammad Azhar, witnessed the signing ceremony of financing and project agreement of Khyber Pass Economic Corridor Project (KPEC) worth US$ 406.6 million with the World Bank, held today, in Economic Affairs Division. The project aims to Construct 48Km long 4-Lane, dual carriageway high-speed access controlled motorway, from Peshawar to Torkham. This project will promote economic development and uplift areas adjoining expressway falling in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province. The Project envisages the use of PPP and private financing to develop clusters of economic activity, economic zones and expressways. The connecting transport infrastructure and economic zones will provide a strong foundation for private businesses to invest in these zones.
The global integration of South and Central Asia is intertwined with the Khyber Pass and has served as the key node in trade for hundreds of years. The expressway between Peshawar and Kabul through the Khyber Pass represents a section of Corridors 5 and 6 of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC). Corridor 5, which runs through Pakistan, has the potential to provide the shortest link between the landlocked countries of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan and the Arabian Sea. Corridor 6 provides access to Europe, Middle East and Russia. The KPEC will finance Peshawar-Torkham expressway portion of Corridor-5. The Peshawar-Torkham expressway will reduce transit time and costs for regional and international trade transiting the Khyber Pass and extend till Karachi – Lahore – Islamabad – Peshawar Trans-Pakistan Expressway System. It will form as an integral part of the planned Peshawar – Kabul – Dushanbe Motorway.
The improved regional connectivity through this corridor will not only facilitate the commercial traffic and expand economic activities between Pakistan and Afghanistan but also promote private sector development along the corridor. It is expected to generate up to 100,000 new jobs in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted that today’s signing of this important project indicates resolve of the World Bank to support the development agenda of the present government. Country Director, World Bank, while appreciating the reform initiatives of the current government, committed to extend possible facilitation and financial support to the government in its efforts to promote economic activities in the country and to put the economy back on track. Dr. Syed Pervaiz Abbas, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division signed the project’s Loan Agreement on behalf of Government of Pakistan while representative of National Highway Authority (NHA) signed the Project Agreement of the project. Mr. Patchamuthu Illangovan, Country Director signed the agreements on behalf of World Bank. The Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr. Muhammad Hammad Azhar, thanked World Bank for extending its continuous support to the Government of Pakistan in its efforts to achieve sustainable economic development in the country.