ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN (26 October 2016) – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of Pakistan today signed loan agreements for $250 million to boost cross-border trade activity with neighboring countries.

The Regional Improving Border Services (RIBS) Project will improve border crossing procedures and time for cargo and passengers at three key land border crossing points of Chaman, Torkham, and Wagha.

Signing for ADB was Pakistan Country Director Werner Liepach while Tariq Bajwa, Secretary, Economic Affairs Division, Ministry of Finance, signed for the Government of Pakistan.

“The project will address trade and transport bottlenecks caused by poor infrastructure, facilities and improve procedures at land border crossings with Afghanistan and India,” said Mr. Liepach.

Overall customs operations have improved substantially over the last decade, but land border crossing point performance has lagged due to poor infrastructure and facilities, and weak coordination among the border operating agencies.

The project will construct modern border crossing point infrastructure and facilities, compliant with internationally accepted standards in Chaman and Torkham—the two main transit stations for cross-border trade with Afghanistan—as well as in Wagha, the only open land route connecting South Asia to Central Asia. The works will include construction of the border crossing point infrastructure, deployment of security trade facilitation equipment, and ICT equipment to link each border crossing point with the central customs and security databases.

The signing took place on the sidelines of the 15th Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Ministerial Conference held today in Islamabad.

A loan of $150 million comes from ADB’s ordinary capital resources and the remaining $100 million is from its concessional Asian Development Fund. The government is providing another $50 million. The project will run for 5 years, with a target completion date of December 2021.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB in December 2016 will mark 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2015, ADB assistance totaled $27.2 billion, including cofinancing of $10.7 billion.

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