Despite anti-US narrative KP gets Rs307bn assistance from USAID

August 16, 2022

PESHAWAR: Despite an anti-US narrative of Imran Khan, the PTI led KP government has very cordial relations with the US and its aid agency, USAID that is spending a huge amount of $1426.98 million ...

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PESHAWAR: Despite an anti-US narrative of Imran Khan, the PTI led KP government has very cordial relations with the US and its aid agency, USAID (United States Agency for International Development) that is spending a huge amount of $1426.98 million (Rs307.44 billion) on almost 21 projects in the province.

Through a donation of $130 million from the American people, the US government has completed the Gomal Zam Dam in KP. USAID is the largest donor in the KP’s Annual Development Programme during 2022-23 with a grant of Rs19.81 billion.

The US taxpayer’s money is being spent on infrastructure, education, health, energy, governance, humanitarian assistance, economic growth, and culture preservation and restoration projects in the province.

The USAID is an independent agency of the US federal government that is primarily responsible for administering civilian foreign aid and development assistance. According to KP government documents available with this scribe, USAID is working with the provincial government and different organisations in KP. USAID is spending $124.4 million on the KP reconstruction programme to rebuild conflict-affected public schools, health, and water infrastructure; improve the learning environment in public schools by providing essential furniture and laboratory equipment, and rehabilitate essential irrigation and communication infrastructure damaged by the 2010 flash floods. The project has been initiated in Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Malakand, Swat, Shangla, Buner, Peshawar, Nowshera & Dera Ismail Khan. The project started in 2010 and will be completed in September 2023.

Similarly, another important project of Municipal Services Delivery was started in 2011 with an amount of $56.8 million. It is expected to be completed in September. The objective of the project was to bring sustained improvement in municipal service delivery to effectively address the basic needs of citizens in Malakand, Peshawar, and Dera Ismail Khan.

Gomal Zam Dam command area development project was initiated in September 2015 and will be completed in June 2024 at a cost of $12.9 million. It would water 191,000 acres in the command area, bring about integrated development of the command area, farm water management, productivity enhancement, value addition, processing, and effective marketing in Tank and Dera Ismail Khan. The US government has already completed the Gomal Zam Dam, which resulted in augmenting Pakistan’s energy capacity by 17 megawatts – enough capacity to power over 20,000 homes and creates economic opportunities for 30,000 households.

The documents revealed that the FATA reforms support activity was started in 2018 with the cost of $15.7 million while the KP revenue mobilisation activity project started in 2020 with an amount of $8 million. Around $36 million were allocated for merit and need-based scholarship programme, $24.6 million for procurement and supply chain management, $ 64 million for the integrated health system, $40 million for FATA community resilience activity, $2.2 million for strengthening the capacity of the health services academy and $15 million for the human development activity.

Likewise, USAID is spending $681.5 million on the FATA infrastructure project, $20.8 million on Pakistan’s regional economic activity,$ 81 million on Kurram Tangi Dam, $ 34.8 million on small and medium enterprises activity, and $20 million on the FATA economic revitalisation programme.

“Similarly, $8.2 million for the Pakistan Agriculture Technology transfer activity, $ 16.4 for the horticulture advancement activity, $7.5 million for water management for enhanced productivity, and $9.8 million for women’s economic empowerment activity. Another important programme of land registration in merged areas was initiated with an amount of $17 million to develop a transparent and credible land record and registration system in the former tribal areas promoting economic growth and investment”, the official documents say

The US embassy also issued a fact sheet, which says that the US government has constructed over 1,300 kilometers of roads including 652 kilometers of highways, 35 bridges, and two tunnels along the border region, the busiest of which caters to 16,000 vehicles every day.

The US government built an additional 1,240 kilometers of roads in the NMDs and border security projects to help farmers and businesses get goods to market. Almost 1,300 regional water projects to provide drinking water, irrigation, and power to local communities have already been completed.

The construction and renovation of 420 facilities for the police have helped increase the rule of law in the province. The US government has spent $2.6 million renovating 28 regular police stations into model police stations, including training on modern policing service-delivery practices and support for women.

The embassy further says the United States constructed 229 and rehabilitated more than 1,000 schools that were damaged due to militancy and natural disasters thus benefiting more than one million students. Around 2,800 people from KP participated in US government-funded exchange programmes.

“We have invested $1.3 million in public diplomacy grants for KP over the past six years to build capacity and train journalists, youth, entrepreneurs, and persons with disabilities. This includes an investment of $5.5 million in English language programmes in KP. We have trained over 2,456 participants in investigative and forensic best practices under the Police Programme. We have also trained 820 judges and prosecutors in judicial cooperation and information sharing”, the embassy said

Furthermore, the United States rehabilitated more than 200 facilities, 120 kilometers of the municipal drainage system, and 180 drinking water wells in Peshawar, which resulted in providing access to basic drinking water, sanitation, and solid waste management services to more than two million people.

It further says, more than 10,000 healthcare providers were trained and provided equipment to 48 health units and donated medical equipment to six teaching hospitals. The US government supported the completion of a 120-bed Burns and Plastic Surgery Center in Peshawar.

As a result of the US government’s partnership with the Pakistani government to launch a $127 million flagship initiative to establish centers for advanced learning in the areas of water, energy, and food security including, the US-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Energy at the University of Engineering and Technology in Peshawar.

The US embassy fact sheet said that the US IT Skills Company Udacity signed a Rs135 million ($600,000) contract with the government of KP on June 29 to provide nano-degree skills training to graduates. US companies McDonald’s, Hardees, Subway, KFC, Ramada, Hilton, and Uber have operations in KP, employing thousands of local residents. Launched this year, Coca-Cola owns and operates a green field bottling plant in the Hattar Haripur area with an investment of $50 million. The US government has supported six ambassadors’ funds for cultural preservation projects in KP, investing more than $800,000 in cultural heritage preservation since 2002. This includes $600,000 to restore and conserve the Buddhist monastery at Takht-i-Bahi.

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