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ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) Thursday approved 13 projects of health, water and communication and other sectors with projected cost of over Rs322 billion.

The meeting presided over by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh considered different proposals to undertake development projects in provinces and in this effect a summary regarding Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Human Capital Investment Project (Health Component) was considered.

The meeting was informed that project would be sponsored and executed by the Department of Health, government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa with funding by World Bank-IDA amounting to Rs13,260 million.

The meeting was further told that the project envisages improving availability, utilization and quality of primary healthcare facilities in four districts of KP and would cover local population of about 8.4 million and 500,000 refugee population.

The meeting approved the above project with the directives that the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would be responsible for smooth implementation and working of the project after its completion. The KP government would ensure viability and sustainability of the proposed project in the long-run.

The ECNEC also considered and approved a summary for construction of additional 02-lanes and widening/rehabilitation of existing 02-lane carriageway of Shikarpur-Rajanpur section of Indus Highway N-55, which would be executed by National Highway Authority (NHA).

The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and Asian Development Bank (ADB) with total cost of Rs44,703.890 million including Rs4470.390 (GOP share) and Rs40,233.50 (ADB share).

Another summary was considered by the Ecnec for construction of 69 km long (04-lane) Sambrial-Kharian Motorway. The meeting was informed that a high-speed toll road facility which will start from Sambrial city and end point would be Lahore- Sialkot Motorway.

The motorway would be constructed on built operate and transfer (BOT) basis at the total cost of Rs.43,382 million. The project shall be sponsored by the Ministry of Communications and executed by the National Highways Authority (NHA).

A summary was presented before ECNEC regarding 10,000 kanals of land acquisition for Swat Motorway phase-II to be sponsored by the government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and executed by Pakhtunkhwa Highway Authority (PKHA) (through Federal PSDP) equal to RS20,000 million for construction of about 80 km 04-lane motorway from Chakdara to Fatehpur.

The committee approved the said project and strongly recommended to complete such projects on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis.

The Ecnec considered and approved the Sindh Resilience Project (Irrigation Component) for construction of small dams to address drought prone areas of Sindh including system for improving resilience phase-II in districts of Malir (Karachi), Jamshoro, Thatta, Shaheed Benazirabad, Sukkur, Khairpur, Qambar-Shahdad Kot and Tharparkar in Sindh.

The project would be sponsored and executed by the Irrigation Department, government of Sindh and source of funding includes share of government of Sindh equal to US$ 11.50 million (7.5%) and Loan from the World Bank equal to US$ 141.51 million (92.5%) with the total cost of the project amounting to US$ 153.01 million (Rs24,493 million).

The Ecnec also approved a Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management and Development Project (BIWRMDP), sponsored and executed by the Irrigation Department, government of Balochistan.

The meeting was told that the project would increase the agricultural production, generate employment opportunities and develop agro-based industry through Integrated Water Resource Management across 11 districts in the Balochistan province.

The project would be funded by the World Bank-IDA (up to 96%) and government of Balochistan and farmer’s share (up to 4%) amounting to Rs14,747.74 million in total. The project is likely to complete in 06 years.

The meeting considered and approved another project in the water sector in Balochistan province namely “Basol Dam Project” on the Basol River. The project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Water Resources, government of Pakistan and executed by the Irrigation Department of Balochistan with a total cost equal to Rs18,679 million.

Nai Gaj Dam Project (2nd revised PC-I) for District Dadu, Sindh province was also approved by the Ecnec at the cost of Rs46,980 million. Wapda and Irrigation Department Sindh will be the executing agencies for the proposed project.

The meeting also approved establishment of 48 MW Jagran Hydropower Station (Phase-II) at District Neelum, AJK was also approved by Ecnec at (2nd revised cost) of Rs11, 372 million. The Ecnec was informed that the project would be sponsored by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit-Baltistan and executed by Power Development Organization, AJK.

The Sindh Resilience Project, a component of provincial disaster management authority (PDMA) was also approved at the total revised cost of Rs15,309 million. The meeting was told that PDMA, Sindh would be the executing agency for the project and the project would contribute to overall needs for enhancing resilience to natural disasters including public health emergencies in Sindh province as the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the requirement for integrating health services with disaster management. The project is designed to cover 29 districts of Sindh and is expected to be completed by 2024-25.

The Ecnec also considered and approved the “Gwadar-Lasbela Livelihood Support project, Phase-II” (GLLSP-II) to cover all 45 Union Councils in Gwadar and Lasbela Districts of Balochistan for community development and fisheries value chain development. The total cost of the project will be Rs12, 328 million.

The Locust Emergency and Food security Project (LEAFS) to respond to food security threats caused by locust in different districts across four Provinces was approved by Ecnec at the total cost of approx. Rs31,630 million (equivalent to US$ 200 million) provided by the World Bank.

The meeting was told that the project would strengthen the Department of Plant Protection (DPP) enhance the capacity of Provincial Plant Protection Departments and is expected to complete in 03 years.

The Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (Phase-I) was also approved by Ecnec to provide additional 650 MGD water to meet the demand of Karachi 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 percent basis by the federal government and Sindh government, respectively.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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