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ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved “Prime Minister’s National Programme for Solarisation of Agriculture Tube-wells” in four provinces at a cost of Rs377.236 billion with a gestation period of three years.

Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Ishaq Dar chaired the ECNEC meeting here on Tuesday.

Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Senator Nisar Ahmad Khuhro, Himayatullah Khan, advisor finance Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government, federal secretaries, and other senior officers from federal ministries and provincial departments attended the meeting.

ECC approves Kissan Package: Power tariff for tubewells reduced to Rs13 per unit

The ECNEC considered and approved a project of the Ministry of National Food Security and Research titled, “Prime Minister’s National Programme for Solarization of Agriculture Tube-wells” in Punjab, Sindh, KPK, and Balochistan at a cost of Rs377,236.275 million with a gestation period of three years.

Phase-I of the project will consist of Rs90 billion including Rs30 billion of PSDP and equivalent share by provincial governments, as well as, beneficiary farmers for financial year 2023-24.

This project is aimed at to enhance agricultural productivity through clean and green energy by converting the existing 100,000 tube-wells (50,000 diesel-run and 50,000 electric power tube-wells) into solar PV system. The project is to be executed by the Ministry of National Food Security, through the Federal Water Management Cell (FWMC) and the provincial departments of agriculture.

The objectives of the current proposal are in line with the sector issue of efficient and judicious use of groundwater and limited investment in the construction and maintenance of infrastructure required for solarisation.

The ECNEC also considered and approved a project of the government of KPK titled, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Rural Investment and Industrial Support Project (RIISP) to be executed by the provincial government in district Bajaur, Khyber, Kurram, Mohmand, North Waziristan, Orakzai, South Waziristan, and erstwhile FR regions at a cost of Rs110,700 million including IDA loan of USD 300 million from World Bank and government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa share of Rs29,700 million (in kind). The project will be completed in two phases, i.e., Phase-I in six years (2023-2029) and Phase-II also in six years (2029-2031).

The main objective of the project is extending institutions and public administration for improved service delivery in merged districts and FRs (ex-FATA), multi-sectoral infrastructure development investments, emergency flood rehabilitation and response in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and strengthening responsive local government systems by building the capacity of village councils.

The ECNEC also considered and approved revised PC-I of ongoing project of the Sindh government titled, Sindh Solar Energy Project (SSEP), executed in the Sindh province by Energy Department of the Government of Sindh at a revised cost of Rs27,418.13 million including FEC of Rs24,265.57 million. The original cost as per the PC-1 was Rs12.848 billion.

The project, at a total revised cost of Rs27,418.13 million including FEC of Rs24,265.57 million (@1 USD=Rs.285.48), was submitted for consideration of the ECNEC. As per revised PC-I, the project was started one year late. Due to the Covid-19 shutdowns in 2020, the project activities were delayed.

Therefore, a 22-month extension has been requested along with a change in the already approved amount and scope of work. The project will improve energy security and help fulfil Pakistan’s international commitments on climate change. It will also help provide electricity to the 27 per cent of the population that do not have access to it, revealed the project documents.

The project is to be financed through a WB loan, i.e., IDA credit of $100 million (95.2 per cent) and $5 million by the Government of Sindh (4.7 per cent). This ongoing project will improve energy security and fulfil Pakistan’s international commitments on climate change.

The ECNEC further considered and approved a project of the Ministry of Energy (Power Division) titled, “Evacuation of Power from 800-MW Mohmand Dam HPP to the National Grid (PC-I)” at a rationalised cost of Rs14,319.18 million including FEC of Rs6,318.38 million.

The project at rationalised cost of Rs14,319.18 million including FEC of Rs6,318.38 million (@1 USD= Rs285.48) was submitted for consideration of the ECNEC. The source of financing of the project is the Asian Development Bank. The project is to be executed by National Transmission and Despatch Company (NTDC) in the districts of Nowshera, Peshawar, and Mohmand of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The objective of the project is the construction of 135-km, 220kV double circuit transmission lines for the dispersal of power from under-construction 800-MW Mohmand HPP, located at Swat River in the merged district of Mohmand, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The ECNEC also discussed and approved a project of the Ministry of Communications titled, “Construction of Lahore Bypass from Kalashah Kaku Exit to KLM to Multan Road near Radio Station (40km approximately)” at a rationalised cost of Rs34,446.585 million without the FEC. The project is to be executed by the National Highways Authority (NHA) in districts Lahore and Sheikhupura of Punjab province. The project is to be financed entirely by the federal government PSDP.

The ECNEC also considered and approved a revised project to be executed by the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination and provincial health departments in collaboration with the WHO and the UNICEF titled, “Emergency Plan for Polio Eradication” at a cumulative cost of $1,784.90 million, for polio eradication and make polio-free Pakistan.

Official documents revealed that the project interventions (procurement of polio vaccines and consumables, mass vaccination drives, surveillance, and social mobilization) are administered by the UNICEF and the WHO across the country and despite heavy investments in the form of loans (US $487 million acquired to-date and US $100 million in the pipeline) the disease is still existing with constant reporting of new cases each year and the destination to eradicate polio is far from near.

As the loan and grants are channelled directly to the UNICEF and the WHO without getting entry into the government accounting system; therefore, the loan amount to the tune of US$ 487 million acquired so far is not relent to the provinces.

In order to achieve the objective of polio eradication and Polio Free Pakistan, there is a need to review and revise the implementation strategy whereby the provincial and sub-provincial health departments, instead of UNICEF and WHO are made optimally inclusive in the implementation of project interventions and consequently the provinces are made more accountable.

This also necessitates the formulation of provincial PC-1 by the respective health departments and their approval by the Provincial PDWPs before onward consideration and approval by the federal government. During the interim, the umbrella federal PC-J may continue for a period of one year to avoid interruption of services as decided by the CDWP in its meeting held on 14-6-2023.

The project was submitted for the consideration of the ECNEC at a cumulative total cost of $1.784 billion all foreign aid subject to compliance of the CDWP decisions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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Tulukan Mairandi Jul 12, 2023 08:46am
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