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The Exec-utive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved projects worth over Rs 331 billion and wanted the Ministry of Planning to devise a mechanism to incorporate exchange rate fluctuation in the project cost after it was told that cost of some projects was revised upward owing to exchange rate fluctuation.
A statement issued by the Ministry of Planning and Development stated the ECNEC meeting chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Sheikh was informed that cost of "Evacuation of Power from 2,160 MW Dasu Hydropower Project Stage-I" increased due to changes in the exchange rate. The meeting approved the project for the evacuation of power from 2,160 MW Dasu hydropower project, stage-I, Dasu to Islamabad via Mansehra, at a revised cost of Rs 9,0831.69 million with foreign exchange component (FEC) Rs 79,584.20 million. The chair remarked that cost revision due to exchange rate fluctuation has become a regular exercise at ECNEC and directed Ministry of Planning to devise a mechanism to incorporate the exchange rate fluctuations in the cost of the project.
The meeting also directed the Planning Commission for undertaking an exercise of project evaluation before bringing the projects to ECNEC by Dr Ishart Hussain.
An official on condition of anonymity said that PC-I of the project may now be prepared on the basis of existing or forward-looking exchange rate instead of previous months exchange rate. The meeting approved a total of 13 projects. The ECNEC also considered and approved the "Engineering Procurement and Construction of Balakot Hydropower project, Manshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa" at the updated cost of Rs 85,912.926 million with the FEC of Rs 35, 049.714 million. The financing for the project shall be obtained from Asian Development Bank (80%) and (20%) from Annual Development Programme of the government of KP.
The advisor on finance also directed to form a committee to look into the matter of filing a petition to NEPRA for reference tariff for public sector power projects at EPC as well as commercial operation date (COD) stage. The minister for planning, members from NEPRA, secretary Power Division, and secretary Planning KP shall be members of this committee.
The chair deferred "500 kV HVDC Transmission System between Tajikistan and Pakistan for Central Asia - South Asia Transmission Interconnection (CASA1000) modified" till next meeting for another round of consultation with the project stakeholders as well as detailed discussion on export of energy to ensure its viability.
The ECNEC also approved two power projects on the same observations, "1,223 MW(gross) combined cycle Power Plant Balloki, district Kasur" and "1230MW (gross)combined cycle power plant at Haveli Bahadur Shah, district Jhang (2nd revised PC-1)" with observations for both the projects: (i) construction of Housing Complex and allied facilities may be allowed at a rate of Rs 5000/sq ft already permitted by NEPRA as an ex-post facto case; (ii) sponsors should justify land acquisition for Housing Complex without prior approval of ECNEC and award design work to Consultants; (iii) and the approval would in no way constitute endorsement of the fiduciary/ management decisions of NPPMCL board regarding internal cost adjustments/ re-appropriation within the approved PC 1, as these are not in the ambit of CDWP/ ECNEC and are the responsibility of the board / PAO.
The ECNEC also approved the 220kV Head Faqirian Grid Station along with 220 kV double Circuit Transmission line from Head Faqirian to Ludewala at an updated cost of Rs 5,812.08 million with FEC component Rs 2,991.42 million.
The meeting also approved extension of ICU Department of Mother-Child Health Centre and Children Hospital at PIMS, Islamabad, at an updated cost of Rs 4,270.588 million with FEC component Rs 3,874.138 million (FEC: Japanese yen 3620.296 million as foreign aid from the government of Japan through JICA).
The ECNEC approved KP Integrated Tourism Development Project with Rs 17,000 million cost - World Bank Loan Rs 14,000 million and KP government''s share Rs 3,000 million. The project aiming the development of tourism in KP will be completed by 2022-2023.
The ECNEC approved a revised cost of Rs 4,629.742 million for the "Establishment and Operation of Basic Education, Community Schools" in the country subject to the condition that honoraria to remaining BECS teachers with pending verifications may be made as per the ECNEC decision of January 9, 2019. The ECNEC also gave prior approval for paying off major cost of this project till December 2019 with the instructions to devise a mechanism for facilitating the process of transition of this project to the provincial governments.
The Ministry of IPC, secretary Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, secretaries of provincial educational departments, secretary finance and secretary planning and development with Adviser to Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms Dr Ishrat Hussain would devise a plan for the smooth transition of this programme from the federal government to the provincial governments.
The ECNEC approved the establishment of Pakistan Space Centre at Chakkri, Rawalpindi, at an updated cost of Rs 29,506.233 million including FEC of Rs 22,095.67 million.
The Dualisation of Kuchlak-Zhob section of N-50 (305 km) was also approved by ECNEC at a rationalised cost of 63,601.56 million without FEC.
The competitive and Liveable City of Karachi Project (CLICK) with the sponsorship of government of Sindh and World Bank/IPF-IBRD was also approved at a total cost of Rs 33,600 million including World Bank loan of Rs 32,200 million.
The meeting considered and approved "Dasu Hydropower Project (Stage 1) Revision of Cost for Land Acquisition and Built-up Property," subject to opinion of the Law Ministry on the revision of cost of land and built-up property after imposition of section 4 of Land acquisition Act of 1894. The project is financed by World Bank and WAPDA and is designed to provide 4,320 MW of electricity in two stages.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019

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