Pakistan has secured funds of $488m from Exim Bank of China to finance the development of 969MW Neelum Jhelum hydropower project.

The Water and Power Development Authority (Wapda) has taken up the development of the project on Neelum River on Pakistan side of Jammu and Kashmir.

The agreement with the Chinese bank is a major step in securing funds to continue with the development of the project, Wapda said in as statement.

Neelum hydro project is estimated to produce 5.15 billion units of low-cost electricity every year, besides contributing annual benefits of around PKR45bn ($452.8m) to the country’s economy.

Wapda is looking to conclude the construction of the project in line with the scheduled and end the development by 2016.

The construction at all sites of the project is said to be in line with the set plans.