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ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives reviewed the progress of new projects to be funded through the federal PSDP and observed that 90 percent of the projects have been approved and included in federal PSDP 2021-22 at Rs234.315 billion out of which Rs25.721 billion have been allocated in the current financial year.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar chaired a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan Development Plan, here Thursday. Secretary Planning Hameed Yaqoob Sheikh, focal person South Balochistan Development Package and senior officials attended the meeting.

While reviewing the progress of new projects to be funded through federal PSDP, Planning Minister Asad Umar observed that 90 percent of the projects have been approved and included in Federal PSDP 2021-22 at Rs234.315 billion out of which Rs25.721 billion have been allocated in CFY.

Likewise, for various approved and ongoing PSDP projects amounting Rs274.689 billion, allocation for CFY amounts Rs29.160 billion. While reviewing the status of PC-I/II and corresponding financials, the planning minister observed that the current portfolio of Balochistan in federal PSDP has a thin spreading of funds and desired that a priority list of projects should be prepared, so that fast-moving and strategic projects could be adequately funded for timely completion.

In line with the vision of the prime minister of Pakistan for the development of unprivileged and less developed areas in Pakistan, concerted efforts have led to the successful completion of Phase-I of the South Balochistan Development Package (SBDP); culminating in the listing of approved projects in PSDP 2021-22 and allocation of funds.

Rs900bn PSDP allocation: 70pc funds to be spent on ongoing projects

In order to ensure implementation of approved projects at an accelerated pace, Planning Minister Asad Umar reviewed the progress on Phase-II of the Southern Balochistan Development Plan and showed satisfaction with the progress on SBDP projects.

He also reviews the progress on priority SBDP projects, the planning minister was informed that the National Highways Authority (NHA) has commenced procurement for threeprojects i.e. Construction of Hoshab-Awaran-Khuzdar Section of M-8 [Awaran-Naal 168 km] at Rs32 billion, Hoshab-Awaran Section of M-8 (146 km) at Rs38 billion and Rehabilitation and Upgradation Awaran-Jhaljao Road (54.8 km) at Rs6.9 billion.

It was further informed that 7x road sector projects amounting Rs24.39 billion and 7x water dams' projects amounting Rs48.68 billion have been approved/included in PSDP 2021-22 and their award process is being expedited.

In order to address water shortages especially at Gwadar, funds have been approved for connecting the Shadi-Kaur dam with the Gwadar pipeline. Additionally, the CDWP has accorded approval for the installation of a 1.2 MGD desalination plant at Gwadar Port through a Chinese grant.

The planning minister directed completion of desalination plant within 6-9 months to ease out populace of Gwadar. While reviewing the progress of 15x projects to be funded through the non-PSDP model at Rs20.376 billion, the planning minister observed that 78 percent of the projects have been approved, while projects amounting to approximately Rs10.188 billion are in various stages of implementation in CFY.

PSDP projects hamstrung by lack of funds

In order to improve Digital Connectivity in Gwadar, Chaghi, Noukeshi, Kech; USF has awarded contracts for districts at Rs3,200 million; planned completion is by 24 July 2022. He was further informed that the contract for High-Speed Broadband Connectivity along M-8 and National Highways is likely to be awarded by the 3rd quarter of 2021. The minister appreciated that efforts of Tele and Data coverage will increase the livelihood opportunities to more than 0.5 million people of Southern Balochistan.

The minister also reviewing the progress of projects to be funded through Public-Private Partnership model, the planning minister commented that private sector is the real driver of growth of countries across the globe and even today Sialkot-Kharian motorway has been inaugurated by the prime minister through such model.

The planning minister was informed that supply of LPG to the population of Southern Balochistan is a priority project, whereby; the Petroleum Division has prepared a draft summary for the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) consideration and circulated same for views/comments of all stakeholders.

The house was further informed that the AEDB is working on Off-grid Electrification of Southern Balochistan districts and a consultant has been procured.

Fishermen Empowerment Programme has been inaugurated by the prime minister as part of PM KamyabJawan Program. The MoU has been signed with four banks (Punjab, NBP, Alfalah, and Habib) whereby, banks will provide loans to the eligible applicants.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021


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