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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved over Rs251 billion development projects of various sectors on Thursday.

The meeting of the Ecnec presided over by the Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, approved a project at a rationalised cost of Rs13.361 billion in response to a summary regarding provision of Advanced Skills Development through International Scholarship Phase-1 for Master and PhD programs to be executed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The project is part of a Prime Minister Knowledge Economy Task Force Initiative, which will enable youth to access higher education opportunities in well-reputed international universities.

The ECNEC also approved Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (phase-1) at a cost of Rs25.551 billion.

The project would provide additional 260 MGD water to Karachi.

The expected period of completion is four years and the ECNEC approved the project for provision of environment-friendly water sanitation and waste management infrastructure/facilities to the residents of Karachi.

Similarly, a project titled “Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP)” sponsored by the Local government, Housing and Town Planning Department, government of Sindh was presented before the Committee with a total cost of Rs16,800 million including IBRD-World Bank loan of Rs16,000 million.

The project is designed to mitigate the risk of widespread flooding caused by inadequate solid and liquid waste management during monsoon season and to improve the Solid Waste Management (SWM) infrastructure and service delivery with a view to transforming Karachi into an eco-friendly city in the long run.

The ECNEC considered and approved the “Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project” (KPHCIP) (Education Component) at a total cost of Rs18.910 billion ($115 million).

The project has been financed by the World Bank/IDA.

The project is aimed at upgrades basic education infrastructure in the districts of Peshawar, Haripur, Noshera, and Swabi of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The project for the “Construction of 100 Dams in Balochistan- Package IV (23 Dams)” was approved by ECNEC at a total cost of Rs13.512 billion.

Irrigation Department, Government of Balochistan will execute the project and it will complete it in three years.

Realising the water scarcity in the province of Balochistan, the project is designed to harness flood flows for direct irrigation, ground water recharge and agricultural development through construction of small dams throughout the province.

Phase-II of the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) Project for Establishment of Cross-Border OFC Network (Khunjerab-Karachi) Along China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Routes” was approved at total cost of Rs37.915 billion.

The project will provide an alternate path for international connectivity through northern border of Pakistan with China and would transform Pakistan as a digital gateway of regional connectivity.

The ECNEC also approved an amount of Rs70 billion as federal share in a project that includes National Health upgradation programme, National programme for Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), and Covid-19 interventions for less-developed areas etc.

The ECNEC approved the project for “Dualization and Improvement of Old Bannu Road” at a total cost of Rs17.230 billion from federal PSDP (2020-21).

The project envisages dualization of existing 02-lane old Bannu road measuring 83 km in length from Gaandi Chowk to Sarai Naurang (8km) and Domail to Krapa on N-55 (75km) to four lanes with 7.3m wide carriageway on either side.

The scope of work also includes extension of existing culverts and bridges, construction of retaining walls along with drainage/erosion works and allied facilities.

The NHA shall execute the project.

The ECNEC considered and approved a summary regarding construction of Gwadar-Ratodero Road Project (M-8) sponsored by the Ministry of Communication and executed by the NHA at a rationalised cost of Rs38.026 billion.

The ECNEC approved the project in view of its strategic importance as it will facilitate connectivity for the CPEC projects through improved road linkages.

The meeting was attended by Federal Minister for Planning, Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the Prime Minister for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain, and Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021