Monday, 1 July 2013 00:43
$ 300 m multi-tranche credit line from ADB for non-revenue water management activated; first tranche of $ 84 m to be released shortly
$ 200 m budget support from ADB for education sector development finalised; first-tranche of $ 40 m to be released before end of 2013
Treasury Secretary Dr. Jayasundera and ADB President sign agreements in Manila
The Government’s reforms and development initiative has got a major boost with the finalisation of a combined $ 500 million financial support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Agreements on two key projects were signed last week by Finance Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundera and ADB President Takehiko Nakao in Manila.
The ADB has agreed to extend $ 300 million for a non-revenue water management program in Greater Colombo area in addition to $ 200 million support for education sector development. For the latter, the ADB’s loans comprise $100 million from ordinary capital resources and $100 million from its concessional Asian Development Fund. The Government of Sri Lanka’s overall program is set to cost $ 4.9 billion, according to the ADB.
The Finance Ministry said the ADB and the Government signed the first tranche of $ 84 million under the multi-tranche credit line for implementation of the non-revenue water management program in Grater Colombo area.
The total investment cost of this program is $ 400 million, of which $ 300 million to be provided by the ADB to supplement Government investment of $ 100 million to improve water supply and water management systems in Municipal areas of Colombo, Kollonnawa, Dehiwala-Mount Lavinia and Sri Jayawardenapura Kotte.
The program is designed to reduce non-revenue water in municipal areas in Colombo from its current level of around 49% to 20% by 2016. Most of the pipe-borne water supply systems in Grater Colombo Area are about 60 to 70 years old.
Paying of lesser attention to the renovation of ageing distribution systems has caused an increase in the non-revenue water level significantly, resulting in a loss of around Rs. 3 billion per annum.
It will improve access to safe drinking water, uninterrupted water supply and also energy saving, the Finance Ministry said.
The Ministry of Water Supply and Drainage, National Water Supply and Drainage Board, Ministry of Local Government and Provincial Councils and the Colombo Municipal Council will jointly spearhead the implementation.
Furthermore, a budget support of $ 200 million for education sector development was also approved last week in support of Sri Lanka’s human capital development, to address emerging middle income economy needs and the Government’s knowledge-based centric policy strategies.
The program aims at improving student learning, equity in access to quality education, efficiency of the school system by supporting the Mahindodaya school development initiative for primary and secondary schools countrywide. The first tranche of $ 40 million is to be released before end 2013, Finance Ministry said.
According to the ADB, this loan marks the first results-based lending program approved by the ADB. Payments will be linked to the achievement of results such as the rollout of a full curriculum in schools, implementation of a technology stream and training of principal teachers. The program supports the Government of Sri Lanka’s Education Sector Development Framework and Program for 2013-2017.
Under the education sector development program, the ADB’s loans will finance the development of a national student assessment framework, which integrates school assessments with external exams to improve pass rates, and it will introduce a technology stream to allow secondary school graduates to move more easily into vocational courses.
School facilities will be upgraded and training and placement of teachers carried out to raise the number of students studying science and commerce. School principals and education agency staff will get training to improve school leadership, management and planning and a financing facility will be developed to ensure that upgraded equipment and facilities are maintained properly.
Finance Secretary Dr. Jayasundera also used the visit to the ADB Headquarters in Manila to have bilateral discussions with President Nakao, Vice President Xiaoyo Zhao and Director General (South Asia Department) Juan Mirinda and discussed future programs in education, urban township development, highways, connecting road network and energy and programs towards a poverty free Sri Lanka by 2016 as announced by President Mahinda Rajapaksa in his 2013 Budget speech in November 2012.