ISLAMABAD - National Assembly Standing Committee on Economic Affairs has directed to give detailed briefing on the problematic projects relating to energy and water sector and to submit updated detail of foreign funded projects.

The meeting of the Standing Committee on Economic Affairs Division was held yesterday under the chairmanship of Mian Najeeb ud Din Awaisi, MNA, in Committee Room of Economic Affairs Division (EAD). Federal Minister for EAD updated the committee regarding foreign funded projects and working of the National Coordination Committee (NCC). Projects are rated as satisfactory, moderately satisfactory and problematic, on the basis of disbursement target, time run-over, additional commitment charged and project rating. 

In this connection, the focal point of the Ministry is to review problematic projects, track implementation delays and recommend measures to address impediments. The Minister informed the committee that the progress on all the projects is monitored, on daily basis, through the dashboard for taking necessary measures. The ministry has limited available funds and optimum utilization of these funds is a challenging task. The committee desired a detailed briefing, by the concerned ministries, on the problematic projects relating to energy and water sectors, in the next meeting. The committee directed the Ministry of EAD to submit updated detail of foreign funded projects.

The Committee considered the Bill titled “The Islamic Development Bank (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (moved by Amjad Ali Khan, MNA), and decided to reject the Bill. The Joint Secretary Ministry of Economic Affairs briefed the Committee on the performance and functions of the Ministry. He informed that as per the Article 166 of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973, the legal mandate of the Division relates to the borrowing by federal government. Its functions include mobilizing external economic assistance including loans, grants and technical assistance and capacity building. Other functions include external public debt management; debt servicing; providing technical assistance under technical assistance and establishment of Joint Economic Commissions (JEC). 

Establishment of JEC is a global phenomenon, to promote bilateral economic cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, agriculture, industry, education, health, transport and communication.  The committee was also briefed about Pakistan’s external debt; liabilities and composition of external public debt. Development partners included multilateral such as World Bank, ADB, Islamic Development Bank, European Union etc. and bilateral partners include China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, USA, UK, France, Germany. Pakistan’s 70% loans are concessional loans i.e multilateral and bilateral.

Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and Ali Zahid, Syed Javed Hasnain, Qaiser Ahmed Sheikh, Khursheed Ahmed Junejo, Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, Dr. Darshan, Ms. Shahida Akhtar Ali, MNSs, attended the meeting. Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq chaired the meeting of National Coordination Committee on Foreign-Funded Projects (NCC-FFP) pertaining to water sector (federal) at the Ministry of Economic Affairs in Islamabad. Minister for Water Resources, Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, State Minister for Finance, representatives of PM’s Office, Finance Division and Provincial P&D Departments and Boards of Revenues attended the meeting. The NCC-FFP forum reviewed progress of the development projects of water sector funded by World Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, USA, France, Germany, Saudi Fund, Kuwait, and OFID. At present, 26 foreign-funded projects in water sector amounting to US$ 3,354 million are under implementation.

Minister for Economic Affairs highlighted the importance of ongoing hydropower and water sector development projects being essential for power generation at affordable rates and sustainable development in country’s economy. He stated that the incumbent government is focusing on rehabilitation and construction of major dams which would fulfil country’s needs for water, food and energy security and in view of long-term benefits towards stabilizing the economy of Pakistan. Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah, Minister for Water Resources, directed the line departments to fast track implementation of the projects and prompt redressal of issues for expeditious execution of projects in water sector. He further emphasized on the quick delivery of the projects including Tarbela 5th Extension, Keyal Khawar, and Harpo Projects and set the timelines to resolve the bottlenecks to expedite the process of implementation.

Energy and water sectors