ISLAMABAD: French government is deliberating raising its financial assistance to Pakistan to half-a-billion euros a year from the existing volume of 100 to 150 million euros, especially in water and hydropower sector.
It was stated by Dr Marc Baréty, ambassador of France to Pakistan, in a meeting with the secretary Water Resources Shamail Ahmad Khawaja.
Dr Marc Baréty said the current portfolio of French financial assistance to Pakistan stood at 800-900 million euros, translating into 100-150 million euros/annum, and now Paris was considering increasing it to 500 million euros/annum depending upon the requirements.
The ambassador, who was flanked by Philippe Fouet, head of the economic department at Embassy of France, also apprised regarding various projects being executed in Faisalabad with the assistance of French treasury.
French government gives importance to the development of Pakistan both in terms of providing funds as well as imparting trainings to build the capacity of Pakistani institutions, the ambassador said.
To this, secretary water resources said Pakistan was thankful to French government for extending assistance for 34.5 megawatts Harpo Skardu Hydropower Project, refurbishment of powerhouse of Mangla Dam Project, rehabilitation of Hydropower Training Institute Mangla, second rehabilitation of Warsak Dam, and detailed engineering design of Mohmand dam as well the upcoming assistance for rehabilitation of Chitral and Dargai hydropower projects. Secretary Khawaja also briefed the French ambassador about the nascent water ministry’s achievement of developing country’s first ever National Water Policy, approved from the apex constitutional forum of Council of Common Interests (CCI).
It must be noted that the CCI is headed by the Prime Minister of Pakistan and all the Chief Ministers of the federating units of the country represent their respective provinces.
Khawaja also apprised him about signing of the Pakistan water charter by the Prime Minister and all the four Chief Ministers as a pledge to continue the development of water sector regardless of which political party was in power.
Welcoming French government’s gesture of goodwill, the secretary said the government of Pakistan would ensure the assistance went into building the capacity of its institutions and human resource beside development of water resource and hydropower sector.