BEIRUT: Kuwait granted Lebanon an $85 million loan Monday to finance the upgrading and rehabilitation of the Zouk and Jiyyeh power plants as part of efforts to overhaul the ailing electricity sector. The agreement was signed by Energy and Water Minister Gebran Bassil and head of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development Abdel-Wahab al-Bader in the presence of President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction Nabil Jisr.
The loan will partially finance the project to boost production in Zouk and Jiyyeh plants by 272 MW. “This is part of general plan to boost production by 1,500 MW, and if this happens then Lebanon will enjoy 24 hours of electricity every day,” Bassil said.
According to the agreement with the Kuwaiti fund, Lebanon can pay its debt over the next 25 years with low interest rates.
Lebanon is also expected to receive the first electricity barge from Turkey in a few weeks while the second barge will arrive in less than two months.
The two barges have a combined electricity production of 275 MW.
The government is also expected to discuss this week the offers to build a power plant in Deir Ammar.
Four Lebanese and international firms are bidding for the Deir Ammar project after the Energy Ministry reduced the cost of the original project due to budgetary restraints.
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on February 05, 2013, on page 5.