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ISLAMABAD: Around 80 per cent of the foreign-funded projects of water sector are facing delays, where the government had to pay additional commitment charges of $6 million, and $90.2 million interest.

Official sources revealed that federal Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq chaired the meeting of the National Coordination Committee on Foreign-Funded Projects (NCC-FFP) pertaining to the water sector (federal) at the Ministry of Economic Affairs, here on Thursday.

Minister for water resources, minister for planning, development and special initiatives, state minister for finance, representatives of the PM’s Office, finance division, provincial P&D departments, and boards of revenue attended the meeting.

Sources revealed that currently there are 26 federal projects of the water sector with a portfolio of $3.3 billion. Of these, $1.6 billion remained un-disbursed. Among these 26 projects, seven projects of worth $1.6 billion are rated as unsatisfactory and 11 projects of $1.11 billion as problematic. The major issues behind the delay in projects are lack of capacity, as well as, lethargy.

Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Minister for Water Resources, directed the line departments to fast-track implementation of the projects and prompt redressal of issues for expeditious execution of projects in the water sector.

He further emphasized the quick delivery of the projects including Tarbela 5th Extension, Keyal Khawar, and Harpo projects, and set the timelines to resolve the bottlenecks to expedite the process of implementation.

The NCC-FFP forum reviewed the progress of the development projects of the water sector funded by the World Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, USA, France, Germany, Saudi Fund, Kuwait, and OFID.

At present, 26 foreign-funded projects in water sector amounting to $3.354 billion are under implementation.

The Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted the importance of ongoing hydropower and water sector development projects being essential for power generation at affordable rates and sustainable development in the country’s economy.

He stated that the incumbent government is focusing on the rehabilitation and construction of major dams which would fulfil the country’s needs for water, food, and energy security, and in view of long-term benefits towards stabilising the economy of Pakistan.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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