August 15, 2011
Mr. Masataka Nakahara of JICA and Mr. Hassan Nawaz Tarar, of EAD, Pakistan exchanging Loan Agreement at the signing ceremony.
Islamabad, August 15, 2011: Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed a Japanese ODA Loan Agreement with the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) of Pakistan to provide a loan of up to 4,993 million yen (approx. 65 million USD) for polio eradication in Pakistan. The objective of “the Polio Eradication Project” is to optimize immunization of polio vaccine to children under 5 years, by procuring vaccines and providing services necessary for polio immunization activities, thereby contributing to the eradication of polio in Pakistan.
This ODA Loan is extended on soft terms with an interest rate of 0.01 percent and repayment period of 40 years including grace period of 10 years. The funds for the project will be released, to cover the expense of polio campaigns in September 2011 and onwards after obtaining the legal opinion of Pakistan’s Federal Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
Pakistan has lagged behind other countries in South Asia in terms of maternal and infant mortality, and is one of the polio endemic countries in the world (the others are Afghanistan, India, and Nigeria). Despite the fact that the global effort toward eradication is in the final stage, there is an increasing trend of polio incidence in Pakistan mainly due to the large-scale population movement in the wake of floods of 2010. Under such circumstances, the GOP has demonstrated a commitment to early eradication of polio through launching of the National Emergency Action Plan for Polio Eradication by President Asif Ali Zardari in January this year.
In order to underpin the efforts of the GOP towards eradication of polio, JICA in line with policy of the Government of Japan (GOJ) will support Polio Campaign through the procurement of Oral Polio Vaccine (OPV) and service provision of the campaign. The project addresses an issue critical to polio eradication in Pakistan, such as reinforcing activities in the prevailing region including the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas and strengthening modus operandi through improving allowance package of immunization workers. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) will engage in vaccine procurement and service delivery of the polio campaign respectively in this project.
GOJ has continuously committed itself to polio eradication in Pakistan. As part of the government’s response to the polio eradication in Pakistan, GoJ has provided Grant Aid to procure OPV mainly used for the Pakistan-Afghanistan border areas in partnership with UNICEF since 1996. Besides this, JICA has conducted its technical cooperation to enhance the capacity to Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) through “EPI - Polio Control Project” with an objective of expanding routine immunization mainly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province for five years from September 2006. The Polio Eradication Project intends to step up the cooperation until now and boost the GOP’s effort toward polio eradication.
Notes: In a brief ceremony, the Exchange of Notes were signed and exchanged between H.E Hiroshi OE, Ambassador of Japan to Pakistan and Mr. Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary EAD of Pakistan.
The Loan Agreement was signed and exchanged between Mr. Masataka Nakahara, Director General, South Asia Department of JICA and Mr. Hassan Nawaz Tarar, Additional Secretary, EAD Pakistan.