ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved approves 12 projects worth Rs267 billion.
The ECNEC meeting was held under the chair of Finance and Revenue Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday to delibarte upon projects related to health, communications, irrigation, disaster management, livelihood support, locust control and water supply.
According to a press statement, the cabinet forum approved the Locust Emergency and Food Security (LEAFS) Project at an estimated cost of Rs31.6 billion ($200 million). The LEAFS Project will respond to food security threats caused by locust across all provinces. World Bank will be the sponsor of this project.
The project will strengthen the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) and also enhance the capacity of Provincial Plant Protection Departments. LEAFS is expected to be completed in three years.
Meanwhile, a summary was presented before ECNEC regarding ‘Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project (Health Component)’, to be sponsored and executed by the KP Department of Health and funded by the World Bank – IDA (Rs13.26 billion). The project envisages to improve the availability, utilisation and quality of primary healthcare facilities in four districts of KP and would cover the local population of about 8.4 million and 500,000 refugee population. After due deliberation, the committee approved the project with the direction that the KP government would be responsible for the smooth implementation and working of the project after its completion.
The forum also approved a summary regarding the construction of additional two lanes and widening/rehabilitation of the existing two-lane carriageway of the Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of Indus Highway N-55, to be executed by the National Highway Authority (NHA). The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Asian Development Bank with a total cost of Rs44.7 billion (GoP: Rs4,470.390; ADB: Rs40,233.50).
Moreover, a summary was placed before the ECNEC regarding the construction of a 69km-long (four-lane) Sambrial-Kharian Motorway. It will be a high-speed toll road facility which will start from Sambrial city and end on Lahore-Sialkot Motorway. The motorway will be constructed on a BOT basis at a cost of Rs43.38 billion. The project shall be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and executed by NHA.
ECNEC also approved a summary regarding ‘10,000 Kanal land acquisition for Swat Motorway (phase-II)’, to be sponsored by the KP government and executed by Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority (PKHA) through federal PSDP equal to Rs20 billion for construction of about 80km four-lane motorway from Chakdara to Fatehpur. The committee strongly recommended the KP government to complete such projects on public-private partnership (PPP) modes.
Furthermore, the chair approved the Sindh Resilience Project (Irrigation Component) for construction of small dams to address drought-prone areas of Sindh, including Malir (Karachi), Jamshoro, Thatta, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Qambar-Shahdadkot and Tharparkar. The project shall be sponsored and executed by the Sindh Irrigation Department. The source of funding includes Sindh’s share of $11.50 million (7.5pc) and a WB loan of $141.51 million (92.5pc) with the total cost of the project amounting to $153.01 million (Rs24.49 billion).
Likewise, the forum approved the ‘Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Project (BIWRMDP)’, to be sponsored and executed by the Balochistan Irrigation Department. The project will increase agricultural production, generate employment opportunities and develop the agro-based industry through Integrated Water Resource Management across 11 districts of Balochistan. The proposed project is funded by the World Bank – IDA (up to 96pc) and the Balochistan government (up to 4pc), amounting to Rs14.74 billion in total. The project is expected to be completed in six years.
ECNEC approved another project in the water sector in Balochistan province titled ‘Basol Dam Project’ on the Basol River. The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources and executed by the provincial irrigation department at a cost of Rs18.67 billion.
The committee also considered and approved the ‘Nai Gaj Dam Project (2nd revised PC-I) for Dadu, Sindh’ at a cost of Rs46.98 billion. WAPDA and Sindh Irrigation Department will be the executing agencies for the proposed project. The main objective of the project is the conservation of the available flood flows up to a gross storage capacity of 0.30MAF and power generation of 4.2MW. It will also help in the irrigation of 56,739 acres, besides controlling soil erosion on the downstream side of the dam.
Among other agenda itms, the establishment of 48MW Jagran Hydropower Station (Phase-II) in district Neelum, AJK, was approved by ECNEC at (a 2nd revised cost of) Rs11.37 billion. The project will be sponsored by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and executed by Power Development Organization, AJK. The project is being constructed on the intermediate stretch of Jagran River and will generate annual energy of 212.43GWh.
The ‘Sindh Resilience Project (PDMA Component)’ was approved at a revised cost of Rs15.3 billion. Provincial Disaster Management Authority-Sindh will be the executing agency for the project, which has been designed to cover 29 districts of the province and is expected to be completed by 2024-25.
In addition, ECNEC approved the ‘Gwadar–Lasbela Livelihood Support Project, Phase-II (GLLSP-II)’ to cover all 45 union councils in Gwadar and Lasbella districts of Balochistan for community development and fisheries value chain development. The total cost of the project will be Rs12,328.549 million. The Project will be executed by the Communications & Works Department, Fisheries Department, Planning and Development Department, Government of Balochistan through a dedicated Project Management Unit (PMU). It is expected to be completed in 06 years.
Lastly, the committee okayed the ‘Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (Phase-I)’ to provide an additional 650MGD water to meet the demand of the port city. Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and WAPDA shall be the executing agencies for the project. The total cost of the project will be Rs25,551.77 million which will be shared on a 50:50 per cent basis by the Centre and Sindh, respectively.