Bisri Dam funding
ratification deadline extended
This exceptional measure is a last chance for funding
The World Bank has extended Lebanon's deadline for parliamentary approval of a $474 million loan for the construction of Bisri Dam to December 31.
World Bank Middle East Director, Ferid Belhaj, said that he received a request for the extension from Finance Minister, Ali Hassan Khalil, a few days before the original deadline of July 20 had expired.
“This would be the first and last extension granted to Lebanon,” said Belhaj. The loan needs to be ratified by Parliament, which has been deadlocked for more than a year.
If the new deadline passes without ratification, the funds will be lost to projects in other countries.
The Greater Beirut Water Supply Project entails the construction of Bisri Dam, 400 kilometers of water networks, a hydropower plant, an underground conveyor, and related infrastructure. It is expected to benefit more than 1.6 million people. The Islamic Development Bank is co-funding the project with $128 million.
Khalil said in an earlier statement that the country is at risk of losing $1.2 billion in international funding of urgently needed projects, one of which is Bisri Dam.
Reported by Yassmine Alieh
Date Posted: Jul 23, 2015