Pakistan: ADB declines to extend the loan signing period as the Greater Thal Canal project in Punjab is unable to get support.

The Asian Development Bank declined to extend the loan signing period for the Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project . The loan was set to end on December 13 .

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has declined to extend the loan signing period as the Punjab government failed to secure funding for the next phase of the Greater Thal Canal project within the stipulated deadline, according to The News International.The banks' Director-General, Central and West Asia Department, said in a letter dated December 6, 2022, that the banks were unable to extend the loan signing period.The loan signing period is set to end on December 13.The Loan 4167-PAK: The Greater Thal Canal Irrigation Project, which is worth USD 200 million, was scheduled to be used to build the next phase of the GTC Project in Punjab.

The loan will automatically expire on December 13, according to Yevgeniy Zhukov, DG, ADB, unless the loan and project agreements are signed within the time frame.They applauded the government's efforts to find a compromise on the GTC initiative, according to Yevgeniy Zhukov.They agree that additional consultation of higher authorities is required, according to him.As the political climate changes, it is becoming clear that the implementation of the scheme will require a more open dialogue within the country.

Given Pakistan's and ADB's top flood response partners' priority, we think extension of the loan signing period could be ineffective.The loan lapsed, according to The News International, was a big setback for the irrigation sector.Pakistan's agriculture has already reached saturation point, and to grow a greater amount of food, they require more land.The Greater Thal Canal Scheme would have increased the area for agriculture.

According to The News International article, the proposed loan program was aimed at improving food security and rural economic growth in Punjab.In the Bhakkar, Jhang, Khushab, and Layyah districts of Punjab, the loan scheme would increase agricultural production by implementing a new seasonal irrigation scheme.According to a news outlet, Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi has expressed disappointment with Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for going too far in his skepticism toward the area.According to the news story, Pervaiz Elahi said in a statement on Friday that Sharif is now using to oppress the Punjab farmers in order to protect his allies.

Elahi said the deadline for ratifying the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved project is December 31 and that Punjab has taken steps to resolve Sindh's concerns at the ECNEC meeting.He further stated that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government had restored the Greater Thal Canal project and coordinated funds.

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