ISLAMABAD: Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh and the Asian Development Bank have signed a $US 300 million loan, multi- trench financing facility (MFF) FFA to improve quality, continuity and coverage of urban services (water supply and sanitation, drainage and solid waste management) in the second-tier cities of the province of Sindh by incentives and supporting effective management and sustainable financing of urban service providers.
Over the next 10 years, the multi-trenches financing facility will finance improved basic urban services for nearly 4 million people across about 20 towns in Sindh. Loan for 1st trench amounting to $ 38 million has been signed today on 6th February, 2009 by Mr. Farrakh Qayyum Secretary, EAD and Mr Rune Stroem, Country Director, PRM, ADB.
Sindh’ second-tier cities (Khairpur Mirs, Sukkur, Shikarpur, Larkana, Nawabshah, Mirpur Khas, Thatta, Badin and other cities in centre and south Sindh) are under increasing stress of population growth and continuing urban poverty. The provision of urban infrastructure and services falls short of targets for quality, continuity and coverage. On average, some 55% of urban population in Sindh outside Karachi has access to piped water, but the water is of poor quality and flows intermittently. Only 37% of the population is served by garbage collection system. No sanitary landfills exist, and waste collected is disposed of by either burning or dumping into open spaces illegally or the drainage channels.
In addition to poor coverage, inadequate institutional infrastructure for planning and management of urban services keeps quality low, cost high and impedes the economic competitiveness of these cities, hence it results in: higher business and household costs, poor urban environment and the low potential investment. All this contributes to a downward spiral of development and push for migration to bigger cities which are already under pressure to cope with rising population.
Government of Sindh (GoS)‘s resolve and commitment to improve quality, continuity and coverage of urban services in the second-tier cities of the province on sustained basis thrust upon the government to explore alternative sources of financing, including private sector and new ways of providing infrastructure services and innovative partnerships. These goals to be achieved require a set of sequenced institutional reform actions and sector investment to bring about lasting improvements in the service delivery.
This current initiative with enhanced investment and innovative institutional arrangement will improve health and quality of life while creating more economically competitive secondary cities in Sindh. More than a half million households will also benefit from reforms that deliver a more reliable water supply, wastewater and solid waste management.-SANA