ECNEC approves multi-billion highways and infrastructure projects in power sector

Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved separate projects, including construction of 21-km long dedicated Yellow Bus Rapid Transit-BRT Corridor linking Landhi to Numaish, 47.55km Peshawar-Torkham Motorway Project and interlinking of 220 kV Daharki, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Chishtian Grid Stations for improvement of power supply system in southern areas.

The decisions were taken in a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet convened here at the Cabinet Block with Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue in the chair.

ECNEC approves multi-billion highways and infrastructure projects in power sector

The ECNEC approved the construction of Karachi Urban Mobility Project (Yellow Bus Rapid Transit-BRT Corridor) to be executed by the Government of Sindh at a cost of Rs 61.439 billion. The project to be funded mainly by the World Bank would cover a distance of 21 kms (17.6 km at grade and 3.4 km) and start from Korangi Indtstrial Road Dawood Chowrangi Landhi, Jam Sadiq Bridge and passing through KPT Interchange FTC Interchange, Shahrah-e-Faisal, Shahrah-e-Quaideen to Kashmir Road intersection where it would integrate with Red BRT Corridor. The project would have 28 stations having facility of 268 buses and some 300,000 passengers would benefit from the corridor every day.

The ECNEC also approved with a proviso for formation of a coordination committee between the federal government and the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for overview and fiscal discipline, the construction of Peshawar-Torkham Motorway Project as component-1 of Khyber Pass Economic Corridor (KPEC) at a rationalised cost of Rs 36.705 billion (US$231.10 million) with World Bank share of Rs 34.503 billion (US$217.24 million) based on preliminary design while the firmed-up cost of the project would be available after the receipt of bids on Design-Build-Operate/EPC basis for which the Planning Commission would develop guidelines/standard operating procedures as well as other innovative mechanism. The meeting also approved component-II “Economic Development & Upift of Areas Adjoining the Motorway” for which the Framework Agreement to facilitate preparation and feasibilities through World Bank had been agreed at a total cost of Rs 8.357 billion. The Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would submit PC-1 envisaged under the component-II after the feasibility and detailed design.

The ECNEC further approved a project for Interlinking of 220 kV Daharki, Rahim Yar Khan, Bahawalpur and Chishtian Grid Stations for improvement of power supply system in southern areas at a an updated cost of Rs 15.795 billion, including Foreign Exchange Component of Rs 9.800 billion to provide reliable and uninterrupted power to consumers. The project would improve the reliability and uninterrupted power supply to HESCO and MEPCO areas while the interlinking of R.Y. Khan Grid Station to Daharki through 220kV transmission line would provide backup link between Multan, Guddu and Shikarpur while the proposed line from R.Y. Khan to Bahawalpur and in/out of Vehari-Chishtian 220 kV single circuit transmission line would provide additional source of supply to 220 kV Bahawalpur and Chishtian grid stations.

Among the other projects, the ECNEC approved construction of a four-lane 18.98 km long (with embankment for 6 lanes) Expressway on East Bay of Gwadar Port at a cost of Rs 17.369 billion with foreign exchange component of Rs 16.435 billion to link Gwadar Port with the Makran Coastal Highway as well as with Gwadar Free Zone and future container terminals. The project would also have one interchange and four bridges, four pedestrian overhead bridges along with cross-drainage structures and allied works.

ECNEC also accorded approval to Dasu Hydropower Project (Stage-1); Revision of Cost for Land Acquisition and Built-up Property at a total cost of Rs 510.980 billion, including Rs 36.914 billion for land cost, and directed the Planning, Development & Reform Division to issue authorisation of the revised cost of land acquisition and built up property of Dasu Hydropower Project (Stage-1) as recommended by CDWP and subsequently by ECNEC.

The ECNEC also approved Lahore Water and Wastewater Management Project-Construction of Surface Water Treatment Plant at BRDB Canal Lahore at a cost of Rs 21.045 billion with foreign exchange component of Rs 19.684 billion to provide adequate quantity of safe drinking water to the target areas of Shadipura, Baghbanpura, Fatehgarh and Mustafabad in Lahore through a unified water supply network. The project would also help maximise the efficiency of the water supply for creating self-sustaining water zones and distribution management areas.

In similar decisions, the ECNEC also granted ex-post facto approval to the development of Phase-1 of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on EPE/Turnkey mode as well as a proposal by the Planning Commission for simplification of development funds release process, including the release of project-wise funds (Rupee component) allocated in PSDP to the ongoing approved projects of Ministries/Divisions during the first week of each quarter as per criteria of the Finance Division (20% in 1st & 2nd Quarter and 30% in 3rd and 4th Quarter) without originating demand by the PAO.

Later in the day, Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance & Revenue also chaired a meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet and approved a proposal submitted by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research for release of 150,000 tonnes to the provincial governments of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as well as release of 100,000 tonnes to Sindh subject to release of same quantity of wheat by the latter from its own stocks.

The ECC further approved a set of proposals submitted by the Ministry of Energy for the resolution of issues pertaining to 1124 MW Kohala Hydropower Project, including the minimum ecological water flow of 42 cumecs by maintaining the e-flow of 30 cumecs and releasing additional flow of 12 cumecs from the spillway, construction of sewage treatment plants and water bodies whose cost would be included in the NEPRA tariff.

The ECC also discussed the issue regarding the Cabinet Committee on Energy’s “Approval of the Settlement of the Settlement of Liquidated Damages” as referred to it by the Cabinet and constituted a Committee comprising Economic Affairs Minister Hammad Azhar, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Institutional Reforms and Austerity and Special Secretary Finance Omar Hamid Khan to examine the matter and firm submit its recommendations to ECC.

To another proposal by the Ministry of Energy, the ECC amended its decision of 28th August 2019 to allow proposed subsidy by the Sindh Government in favour of the destitute residents of Islamkot for reflection in the electricity bills of 4514 consumers of the area while the Sindh government would make budgetary provision/allocation for the amount of the proposed subsidy on annual basis for the life of the proposed facility failing which the facility would be discontinued.

The ECC also approved a proposal of the Ministry of Energy to allow Central Power Purchasing Agency to approach NEPRA for approval of extension of tariff as agreed between Pakistan and Iran on 15th March 2019 for supply of power to Makran Division from the Power Generation & Transmission Management Company (TAVANIR).

To another proposal by the Ministry of Energy for tariff rationalization for power sector-quarterly and annual indexation/adjustments of distribution margin, the ECC approved a proposal to notify the NEPRA approved adjustments for Q-3&4 of FY 2018-19 and annual adjustment/indexation after incorporating the target quarterly subsidy and additional charge to maintain uniform tariff. The ECC further directed for the adjustment to be shown separately in the consumer bill and applicable for next 12 months effective from October 01, 2019. Similarly, the ECC in order to fully protect the lifeline and domestic consumer consuming upto 300 units, approved the additional charge of Rs. 0.30 per unit so that the impact of instant adjustments was not passed on to lifeline and domestic consumers upto 300 units and at the same time the consolidated revenue requirement approved and determined by NEPRA on 27-9-2019 was maintained.

The ECC also approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs 419.154 million to pay the court fee and fee to foreign counsels in case of Dr. Hilal Hussain At-Tuwairiqi and Al-Ittifaq Steel Products Company Limited vs Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

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