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Yearly review of roads and infrastructure

According to the Ministry of Finance Government of Pakistan, during July-March FY 2017, total length of roads in Pakistan including GB and AJK is 264.401 thousand kms as against to 263.356 thousand kms over the same period of last year. Economists identified that road and infrastructure plays a critical role in fulfilling the strategic needs of a country and the development of any economy. Total road network includes motorways, highways, and main or national roads, secondary or regional roads, and all other roads in a country.

Studies also identified that in first 30 years of Pakistan (1947-77), the overall growth in road network was 159 percent; rising from 22,238 kms in 1947 to 57,494 kms in 1977. At the time of Independence, the total length of roads inherited by Pakistan was 22,238 kms. Data identified low type road length during the same period rose by 66 percent, while high type road length rose by 319 percent. It can be inferred from the data that the establishment of the National Highway Board in 1971 played a crucial role in the development of road network and a marked increase of nearly 50 percent in the overall road length was observed between 1974 and 1977.

Western Alignment Projects
Sr.No.Project NameLength (Km)StatusIndicative Plan Period
1Hakla (Islamabad) – Yarik (DI Khan)285Under Construction2013-20
2Yarik – Zhob (N-50)235PC-I approved Detailed Design is in Process20 18-23
3Zhob – Quetta (N-50)331PC-I approved20 18-23
4Quetta – Khuzdar (N-25)306Detailed Design is in Progress20 18-23
5Surab-Hoshab (N-85)449Completed
6Hoshab- Gwadar (M-8)193Completed
Source: NHA

National Highway Authority (NHA) is playing an important role in enhancing the quality of road network in Pakistan, which entails in enhancing the quality and standard of life of the people apart from creating career opportunities. Statistics showed that the current NHA network consists of 47 national highways, motorways, expressways, and strategic roads. Present length of this network is 12,743 Kms. NHA’s existing portfolio comprises of 38 on-going projects with an allocation of Rs.176,636.80 million in PSDP 2018-19 out of which 66,700.00 million is the Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) and Rs.109,936.80 million is the local component. There are also 08 new schemes in PSDP 2018-19 with total estimated cost of Rs. 8,561.00 million. Economists also revealed that infrastructure is the fundamental requirement in the functioning of any country. In today’s modern era, everyone needs electricity to power our homes and industry.

We need roads to transport goods from one place to the other and then ports and airports to export our industrial products to global trade partners. Similarly, a modern nation requires effective water and sanitation to improve and sustain the health and cleanliness of its people. They also identified that in all conditions, infrastructure is such a necessity that it affects the lives of every single individual on this planet. Lack of proper infrastructure causes chaos and havoc in our lives. It also causes bottlenecks in the smooth functioning of the economy.

Unluckily, Pakistan’s infrastructural condition is comparatively poor through foreign standards and this has an acute effect on the lives of every Pakistani. Everyone suffers from energy crises and the lack of proper water and sanitation provisions. Also as the population rises our problems have gotten worse. The Government of Pakistan and its people face an uphill battle against poor infrastructure and it seems like the latter is winning. We know that the improvement and expansion of infrastructure is a pre-requisite for sustaining and boosting economic growth and social development in a country. Enhancing quality and service coverage in power, water supply and sewerage treatment, transport and logistics is crucial for country’s economy and to enhance the quality of life. It was predicted that because of insufficiency, the country looses about 4 to 6 percent of its GDP (approximately $6 billion).

 

Logistical bottlenecks rise the cost of production of our goods by about 30 percent. This has a significant impact as the country is facing stiff competition from the likes of China and India in the export markets. Economists also revealed that to enhance and expand infrastructure, the country’s needs are massive and its resources are limited. Not only is there limited fiscal space, there are also huge gaps in public sector capacity to build and operate infrastructure. Through CPEC, Ministry of Finance showed that NHA is connecting Khunjrab to Gwadar.

Presently there are on-going CPEC projects worth Rs.700 billion related to NHA. NHA has already constructed four segments of Pakistan Motorway Network i.e., Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway (M-1), Islamabad-Lahore Motorway (M-2), Lahore-Abdul Hakeern Motorway (M-3) and Pindi Bhattian-Gojra Section and Khanewal-Multan Sections of Motorway (M-4) on a virgin corridor bringing remote areas on mainline and increasing economic activities.

NHA is now constructing the remaining section of M-4 from Gojra-Khanewal. Work on Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) on BOT basis is also substantially completed. NHA through its dedicated efforts took a lead in the road infrastructure development by the private sector participation. NHA fruitfully attracted private sector investment and has awarded/ supported 5-project of value over Rs. 90 billion.

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