By Yousaf Rafiq
Special Correspondent, Islamabad
June 28 - July 04,1999
In order to revive the economy it is necessary to accelerate economic
activity in the country through increased infrastructure development including
construction and upgradation of roads and ports. This development work will not only
generate employment but also act as a catalyst for economic growth by providing efficient
and reliable transportation.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, in a meeting recently held, has approved
the National Plan of 'Federal and Provincial Roads Network'.
NATIONAL PLAN FOR ROADS
It is planned to increase the existing road density of 0.23 km/sq.km to
0.30 km/sq.km in the country over the next ten years. Accordingly the existing length of
181,868 km of roads will be increased to 242,281 km by constructing 60,413 km new roads.
In addition 57,190 km of existing roads will be upgraded. At least thirty per cent of the
plan target will be achieved in three years from 1999 to 2001. Accordingly, 26,496 km new
roads will be constructed besides upgrading 20,815 km existing roads at a cost of Rs 210
It was decided in the meeting that Farm to Market Roads and Rural
Access Roads will be upgraded/constructed by the provinces and the Ministry of
Communications will coordinate and oversee/monitor progress.
Following decisions were taken to achieve targets set for next three
Upgrading of 8,950 km existing roads will be taken up on priority basis
and completed by provinces from their own sources. For construction of 20,000 km new roads
by provinces, Federal Government will provide funds as under: in the first year for 5,000
km Rs 8 billion, in the 2nd year for 7,000 km Rs 15 billion and in the 3rd year for 8,000
km Rs 20 billion. A total of Rs 43 billion will be spent in three years for the above
mentioned 20,000 km new roads.
To ensure speedy execution of the road plan during the next three years
period from 1999-2001 in an efficient and economical way it was approved that: (i) a new
national composite schedule of rates will be prepared by the NHA as a reference for all
Projects; (ii) all payments except financial assistance by aid giving agencies, will be
made in local currency; (iii) to curtail the cost of land, all necessary steps will be
taken for expeditious acquisition, appropriate orders be issued as soon as a project
proposal is formulated; (iv) Ministry of Communications and national Highway Authority
will prepare and adopt simplified contracting procedures in order to reduce time and cost;
(v) the Ministry of Finance shall ensure availability of required funds matching the
targets given to Ministry of Communications/NHA. The provincial governments shall also
ensure availability of funds matching the provincial targets for road construction and
rehabilitation. (vi) appropriate amendments will be done by CBR in relevant SROs,
exempting scrutiny/declaration of source of funds for BOT projects; (vii) as construction
has already been declared as an industry, appropriate steps shall be taken and necessary
circulars/orders issued by CBR for its implementation; (viii) Tameer-i-Pakistan should be
activated for taking up infrastructure development projects under PSDP; (ix) Technical
Bureaus (for Roads, Ports and Telecommunication sectors) will be set up in Ministry of
Communications. With small teams of highly qualified and experienced experts for
overseeing, monitoring and expediting Project Processing and Implementation, there will be
no burden on the Government Budget as it will be financed by the attached
departments/autonomous bodies; (x) sufficient additional annual block allocation to be
provided by the Ministry of Finance for priority projects directed by the Prime Minister.