MANILA, Nov. 20 (UPI) -- The Asian Development Bank said it was providing more than $1 billion in loans to help Pakistan address chronic power issues in the country.
Pakistan's aging infrastructure means the country lacks a reliable power sector. The ADB described the status of the power sector in Pakistan as "crippling." The bank approved combined loans of nearly $1.4 billion covering two programs meant to resolve key power sector issues in Pakistan. Most of the initial funding will support advanced metering infrastructure.
"Nearly 20 percent of generated electricity is lost due to high technical and commercial losses and measures like the installation of the AMI system are necessary to counter this," ADB energy specialist Adnan Tareen said in a statement.
According to the ADB, Pakistan's power sector has a gap between supply and demand of about 5,000 megawatts, which has put significant pressure on the prospects for economic growth.
ADB said in a development report for 2015 it expects Pakistan's economy to expand from 4.2 percent this year to 4.5 percent in 2016. Much of the regional economic growth, however, is in part a reaction to lower oil prices, which benefits importing nations like Pakistan.
The bank, which has headquarters in Manila, in February announced plans to help Pakistan build its first liquefied natural gas terminal with a $30 million loan. The plant will be able to convert as much as 3 million tons of LNG per year to gas for use in state power plants.