(TAP) - The Assembly of People's Representatives (ARP), during a plenary on Tuesday, ratified the draft law approving the first-demand guarantee agreement between the Republic of Tunisia and the African Development Bank (AfDB).

The agreement concerns a loan for the benefit of the National Sanitation Utility (ONAS), signed on January 31, 2024, according to a Parliament press release.

The plenary, which was attended by Environment Minister Leila Chikhaoui, saw the law adopted in its entirety with 111 votes in favour, 5 abstentions, and 5 against.

This agreement will enable ONAS to secure a loan from the AfDB, valued at up to €81.9 million (equivalent to TND 276.14 million).

The loan will be allocated to co-finance a project aimed at improving the quality of wastewater and treated water as part of efforts to combat climate change.

The loan, which will be repaid over 20 years with a 5-year grace period, carries a variable interest rate determined by the bank at each instalment.

It will therefore provide 96% co-financing for the project to enhance the quality of wastewater and treated water, with the total project cost estimated at €85.33 million, excluding taxes (TND 287.7 million).

This initiative will bolster ONAS's services and energy management through the renewal of electromechanical equipment and the installation of photovoltaic solar panels in 19 stations across 10 governorates (Nabeul, Zaghouan, Jendouba, Kasserine, Sidi Bouzid, Sfax, Gafsa, Tozeur, Kebili, and Medenine).

The project aims to improve the living conditions of more than 670,000 citizens by reusing treated water produced in accordance with Tunisian standards for agricultural purposes over more than 3,000 hectares near the relevant sanitation stations.

The project is expected to create approximately 250 direct and 1,000 indirect jobs, as well as strengthen the technical and administrative capacities of ONAS.

It aligns with the State's objectives to honour its international commitments under the nationally determined contributions (NDC) and achieve the goals of the 2023-2025 development plan.

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