ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) has approved over Rs361 billion 10 projects for different sectors of the economy, on Wednesday

Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin, who chaired the Ecnec’s virtual meeting, directed the Planning Commission to prioritise projects that are of strategic nature or can be completed in a shorter period of time to save the exchequer from cost overruns and unnecessary delays in the completion of projects.

The Ecnec has approved the Gomal Zam multipurpose project (2nd revised PC-I) at the total cost of Rs25,928 million.

The meeting also granted the ex-post facto approval of the expenditures and financial closure of the project by relaxing the direction/decision of the earlier meeting of the Ecnec dated 28-8-2013.

The meeting was informed that the project is located on the Gomal River in South Waziristan, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

The main objective of the project is to harness flood water and provide assured irrigation water supply of 848 cusecs to irrigate 191,139 acres of land including 28,053 acres additional land, which falls under the Waran Canal System and to generate 17.4 MW of electricity.

The Wapda is responsible for the execution and implementation arrangement of the project. The Ecnec has approved COVID-19 Response and Other Natural Calamities Control Program (Sindh component) at the total cost of Rs20, 822.046 million without any foreign exchange component.

The Government of Sindh health department will be responsible for sponsoring and executing the program.

The project will be completed on equally-shared financing basis by the government of Sindh and the federal government through the PSDP with the completion date of the end of year 2023.

The project envisages strengthening of provincial health system to effectively respond to the pandemic like situations at THQ and DHQ hospitals.

The Ecnec also decided that any escalation in the cost of the project will be borne by the provincial government.

The Ecnec also gave approval to 30 MW Hydro Power Project Ghowari (2nd Revised) at the total cost of Rs16399.760 million.

The project located on the left bank of Shayok River near Ghowari Village in District Ghnache in Gilgit-Baltistan is expected to be completed in four years.

The meeting also 20MW Hydro Power Project Hazel, Gilgit at the revised PC-I cost of Rs12, 921.662 million.

The project will be executed by Water and Power Department, Gilgit-Baltistan.

The Rainee Canal Project (Phase-1: 110 km), revised-PC-I was also approved by the Ecnec with the total cost of Rs20,533.836 million.

The Wapda would be responsible for the execution of the project which will irrigate 412,400 acres in Phase-I at a design discharge of 5,500 cusecs in districts of Kashmore, Ghotki, Sukkur, and Khairpur.

The Construction of Hoshab-Awaran-Khuzdar Section of M-8 Project, Section 2 Awaran-Naal, length 168km was also approved by the Ecnec at the rationalised cost of Rs32,244.82 million.

The project would be executed by the National Highways Authority.

The scope of work includes construction of bridges, box culverts, retaining walls/toe walls, shoulders, along with drainage and allied works.

The project is expected to complete in 42 months.

The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Provincial Roads Rehabilitation Project was also approved by the Ecnec at the Revised PC-I cost of Rs28,155.972 million.

The location of the project is Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, South, Central, and Eastern Regions.

The revised PC-I of the project envisages rehabilitation of 274 km of existing provincial highway network of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa as compared to original scope of 214 km.

It is expected that the project will complete by 2023.

The Feasibility and Dualisation of Mardan-Swabi Road, revised project was also approved by the Ecnec at the Revised PC-I cost of Rs13,024.42 million.

Communication and Works Department through Pakhtunkhwa Highways Authority, Government of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa will be the executing agency of the project.

The project is expected to complete by 2022-2023.

Construction of Hyderabad-Sukkur (306 Km), 06–Lane Divided, fenced motorway on Built Operate Transfer (BOT) Basis, revised project was also approved by the Ecnec at the revised PC-1 cost of Rs191,471.074 million.

The project is to be implemented on BOT –user-charge basis with provision of capital and operational VGF to improve the financial viability of the project.

The project is expected to be completed in 30 months.

The Ecnec also considered the summary for procurement of 600 Flat Container Bogie Wagons and forwarded the proposal to the Public-Private Partnership Board to develop a transaction structure on PPP basis.—ZAHEER ABBASI