Feb 18 - 24, 2008

The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) in its 4th meeting, held in Islamabad last week, approved 32 development projects costing Rs 317 billion with a foreign component of about Rs 140 billion. Caretaker Prime Minister Muhammad Mian Somoro presided over the meeting.

Out of the total 32 projects, 23 are new development projects. Nine are ongoing projects of which the revised cost was approved from Rs 6.2 billion to Rs 8.2 billion.

This meeting of ECNEC was the fourth during the current fiscal the current fiscal year. In the earlier three meetings, 84 projects costing Rs 368.5 billion were approve, said secretary planning and development (P&D) division Ghayasuddin Ahmed while briefing media after the meeting. Total number of projects approved so far this fiscal year is 116, costing Rs 685.9 billion, including FEC of Rs 260.5 billion.

In infrastructure sector, Ecnec approved 15 projects worth Rs 132.2 billion including FEC 69.9 billion. The same number of projects was approved in social sector costing Rs 183.3 billion with EFC 68.6 billion, said P&D secretary who was flanked by other senior officials. Two projects costing Rs 1.7 billion were approved in other sectors.

Of the 15 projects in infrastructure, 8 projects are of transport and communications, one of water resources, four of energy and two of physical planning and housing. Of the 15 social sector projects, 6 projects are of Higher Education Commission, including four projects of engineering universities being established with the help of China, Germany, Australia, and Italy at Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi. The Pakistan students will get degrees of these universities in Pakistan. The project of widening and improvement of Pattoki to Kanganpur 54.8 km long Governments on 50:50 cost sharing basins. Two projects costing Rs 15.9 billion will be fully financed by the Punjab Government. The construction of road from Nagor to Sunstar costing Rs 0.6 billion will be fully financed by the Balochistan Government. The project of New Balakot city development costing Rs 12 billion will be financed from the Erra allocation of Rs 35 billion in the current fiscal.

Of the 116 projects approved so far this fiscal, 64 projects are included in the PSDP 2007-08 with allocation of Rs 23.8 billion. Of the 32 projects approved on Wednesday, 27 schemes are not part of the current year PSDP with an allocation of Rs 8.8 billion.

In energy sector, uranium mining project (Taunsa 2), Dera Ghazi Khan worth Rs 2.386 billion including FEC or Rs 1.15 billion was approved. Water and Power division schemes of power transmission enhancement project worth Rs 20.19 billion, and establishment of 500MW combined cycle power plant at Nandipur costing Rs 22.33 were also approved. Ecnec also revised the cost of detailed exploration of uranium resources in DG Khan Phase VII to Rs 0.85 billion.

In physical planning and housing, Ecnec approved two projects worth Rs 21.35 billion. Eight projects worth Rs 58.52 billion approved in transport and communication, one project costing Rs 6.57 billion in water resources. Five projects worth Rs 3.89 billion were approved in health, six projects costing Rs 171.35 billion in higher education, two projects worth Rs 3.4 billion in information technology, two schemes worth Rs 4.64 billion in science and technology, one projects costing Rs 089 billion in devolution and area development and one scheme costing Rs 0.82 billion in industries and commerce were approved.

The ECNEC also approved a project for devolution and area development worth Rs 698.128 million with FEC Rs 829.130 million. The only project for industry and commerce sector was approved in the meeting worth Rs 822.065 million. Secretary Planning Ghayasuddin briefed journalists after the ECNEC meeting.

He said one project "widening/improvement of Pattoki to Kanganpur road length 54.80 kms in district Kasur costing Rs 0.6 billion would be finance by the government on 50:50 basis cost sharing. One project namely "construction of road from Nagor Sharif of Sunstar-54km" costing financed by the government of Punjab. The project "New Balakot City Development" costing Rs 12 billion would be financed from ERRA allocation of Rs 35 billion made during 2007-08.

Spokesperson of Planning Commission Asif Sheikh told journalists that there was no cut in PSDP but slow moving projects would be financed slowly. However, he said that all ongoing power related projects would be fully financed.