London, United Kingdom (cabinet.gov.krd) – The Kurdistan Regional Government has finalized a landmark loan agreement with UK Export Finance (UKEF), the UK’s export credit agency, to finance the first phase of a contract between the KRG and UK water engineering company Biwater to deliver urgently needed water and wastewater treatment solutions to the cities of Erbil and Sulaimani.
UKEF has agreed a USD $34.8m loan to the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) to finance the Development Works phase of the Erbil and Sulaimani Water and Wastewater Project under a $1.2 billion contract signed by the KRG with Biwater in 2015.
The loan is the first use by the KRG of the Law To Raise Funds Through Borrowing by The Kurdistan Region, number (7) of 2015.
The overall works will alleviate the current strain on existing infrastructure and reduce the Kurdistan Region’s reliance on dwindling groundwater reserves to deliver long-lasting environmental benefits.
As a part of the project, Erbil will be provided with a 600,000 m3/day state-of-the-art water treatment plant, while Sulaimani will benefit from water treatment plant upgrades and the construction of cutting-edge wastewater treatment works and sludge treatment facilities.
The project’s Development Works phase will include all relevant site surveys, social and environmental impact assessments and detailed designs.
Sir Adrian White, Biwater’s chairman, said: “Since Biwater was founded in 1968, we have delivered many large international water projects across the globe, including strategic turnkey solutions throughout the Middle East. The signing of this contract in Kurdistan is a major landmark in providing technological and financial solutions that address complex water-related challenges in the region.”
Welcoming the water project and the loan agreement, Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani said: “This is a significant step that will help improve the daily lives of the citizens of Erbil and Sulaimani. It is also the first time the UK government has provided a direct loan to the KRG to boost our infrastructure. We hope this initial loan will pave the way to attracting finance for the next stage of this important project. We also appreciate the high-level backing this project has received from the UK government, highlighting the close and fruitful relationship between the UK and the Kurdistan Region.”
Greg Hands, the UK Minister for Trade and Investment, said: “This is great news for Biwater and for British exports, and I am delighted that UKEF is financing this hugely important contract. It shows what is possible when British technical excellence receives the right government support at the right time. The project will bring much needed benefits to Kurdistan and offer substantial opportunities for supply chain companies based here in the UK.”