Ecnec approves seven development projects worth Rs216.4 billion

ISLAMABAD-The Executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Monday approved seven development projects worth Rs216.4 billion that related to poverty alleviation, education, hydropower project and others.

Adviser to the Prime Minister on Revenue and Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the ECNEC. The ECNEC considered and approved seven projects put forth by Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives. ECNEC considered and approved the Southern Punjab Poverty Alleviation Project (SPPAP)-IFAD assisted, Revised-III at the total cost of Rs15.52 billion with Rs 7.5 billion as the FEC.

Government of Punjab and the International Fund for Agricultural Development are the financers of the project and the aim of the project is to contribute to reduction of poverty in the Southern Punjab Region through improving the living standards of the people, boosting agricultural production and provision of infrastructure such as water supply, irrigation, access roads, sanitation and drainage facilities to the population.

The project is expected to be complete by 2023. It was briefed to the ECNEC that the main cause of the revision in the cost of the project was the change in the exchange rate. ECNEC also gave approval to “Higher Education Development in Pakistan” (HEDP) Islamabad, at the total cost of Rs12.08 billion with FEC of Rs 7.72 billion to be provided by World Bank IDA Financing. The project has five components; Nurturing academic excellence in strategic sectors, supporting decentralized Higher Education Institutes for improved teaching and learning, equipping students and Higher Education Institutions with modern technology, Higher Education Management Information System and Data driven services and technical assistance. The project is expected to raise the overall quality of Higher Education in the country with the use of IT services.

The “Pakistan Multi Mission Communication satellite system (PakSat-MMI) project” for the establishment of the Geostationary Communication Satellite and its ground control stations located inside Pakistan, cohosted with the PakSat-IR ground control equipment also got approval by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs 39.7 billion. 15% of the cost of the project shall be finance through Federal PSDP and 85% shall be Chinese Concessional Loan. The project aims to help in increasing mobile density, tele density, broadband internet density, employment generation and quick to establish means of communication over a large geographical area stretching beyond national borders. The project shall complete in 44 months.

ECNEC approved the Terbela 4th Extension Hydropower project Revised PC I, at the total cost of Rs122.9 billion. The objective of the project is the expansion of the present capacity of Terbela Dam Hydro Power Project from 3478 MW to 4888 MW (addition of 1410 MW) by installation of three units of 470 MW on the existing irrigation tunnel 4. World Bank IBRD/IDA shall be providing 90% of the financing of the project (US$692 million) and 10% of the financing shall be done by WAPDA’s own resources. The Project is located at Swabi and Haripur Districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Program (3rd Revised) also got approval by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs12.8 billion with Rs 8.84 billion as FEC. The project shall be sponsored by the Government of Punjab with the financial assistance of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The main objective of the REDSIP project is construction of hydel projects i.e. Marala (7.64 MW), Chianwali (5.38 MW), Deg-Outfall (4.04 MW) and Pakpattan (2.82 MW) at Canal Falls of Punjab. The project also envisaged capacity building of Energy Department, Punjab and PCII for additional feasibility studies/ construction of hydropower stations in Punjab.

The “Evacuation of Power from Wind power projects at Jhimpir and Gharo Wind Clusters” Revised PC-I at the total cost of Rs13.40 billion was also approved by ECNEC. The National Transmission & Despatch Company Ltd. (NTDC) will be the Executing Agency. The main objective of the project is evacuation of 1256 MW power from the Wind Power Plants (WPPs) installed at Jhimpir and Gharo wind clusters for supply of power to respective load centers of DISCO i.e. HESCO through transmission network of NTDC system. The Project shall be financed by KfW (27 million Euros) and NTDC’s own resources. The expected time for the completion of the project is 33 months.

In a meeting the Report of the Committee constituted by ECNEC (on its meeting of 15-7-2019) for the determination of tariff for PC I based public sector power projects was also presented.

According to the submission of the Report it was decided that “in future all Power Projects (irrespective of fuel technology) funded through PSDP should comply with NEPRA tariff regime by applying to NEPRA for tariff determination at feasibility, EPC and COD stages, including Balakot Hydropower project. Public sector Projects must have assured funding”. The Chair directed the Ministry of Planning to inform the forum on the status of all PSDP funded projects in the next meeting.

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