LAHORE The USAID and the Punjab government Sunday signed a $75 million deal, which aims at capacity building of the provincial government to improve the management of key municipal services. The agreement was inked by Chairman Planning and Development Javed Aslam and USAID Country Director in Pakistan Andrew Sission signed the document at the Chief Ministers Secretariat. The five-year programme will benefit the 11 districts of the province. Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, provincial Minister for Education Mian Mujtaba Shujaur Rehman, Syed Zaeem Qadri MPA and the secretaries of various departments were present on the occasion. Under the agreement, the USAID will initially provide ten million dollars, which would be used for taking steps improving water supply, solid waste management, water treatment, sewerage system and improvement of roads and street lights in the cities. Speaking on the occasion, the chief minister said the USAID had always played an important role in the development of Pakistan and also helped in coping with devastation of the recent floods. He said the agency was also cooperating in the uplift of education and health sectors, adding that the latest agreement would result in better facilities to the masses. Referring to the steps taken by the Punjab government for development and welfare of the people, Shahbaz said transparency was the hallmark in every sector and all available resources were being utilised in a highly justified manner. He said provision of Rs.20,000 to every family affected by the floods had been completed while free seeds and fertilisers had also been provided to the flood-hit farmers, adding that modern villages with all amenities were being constructed in the flood hit areas. Shahbaz said revolutionary measures had also been taken for the uplift of education sector for which Punjab Education Endowment Fund was established which would benefit the poor talented students while IT labs had also been established in more than 4,000 schools of the province. It would help in promoting awareness among students about the international affairs resulting in broadening their mental outlook and elimination of terrorism. He said Danish School Project had also been started for the poorest of the poor students in the province and three of these schools would be inaugurated next month. But Shahbaz said he firmly believed that the goal of progress and prosperity could not be achieved through only foreign assistance and cooperation of the friendly countries, as development of local resources was also essential for achieving the goal. The Punjab government was implementing a comprehensive policy for the developing natural resources and solid measures were being taken for the uplift of agriculture, livestock and dairy development sectors, he added. The CM said Pakistan was facing the challenge of terrorism; however, the nation was united to wipe out the scourge. Provision of socio-economic justice, equitable distribution of resources and generation of job opportunities besides delivering education, health and other basic necessities were essential for elimination of terrorism. He said in addition to South Punjab, the USAID should also launch similar programme for other areas for benefiting the maximum number of people. USAID Country Director Andrew Sission said the measures taken by Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for the development of province were impressive. He said the USAIDs cooperation with Pakistan had a long history and it was playing in an effective manner, adding that the agency wanted to work with Punjab government because of its better performance, which could generate positive results.