Asad Umar Reviews South Balochistan’s Development Plan

The federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Asad Umar, chaired a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan Development Plan.

The Secretary Planning, Hameed Yaqoob Sheikh, the focal person for the South Balochistan Development Package (SBDP), and senior officials attended the meeting.

In line with the Prime Minister of Pakistan’s vision for the development of unprivileged and less developed areas in Pakistan, concerted efforts have led to the successful completion of Phase-I of the SBDP, culminating in the listing of the approved projects in the PSDP 2021-22 and the allocation of funds.

In order to ensure the implementation of the approved projects at an accelerated pace, the Minister for Planning, Asad Umar, reviewed the progress of Phase-II of the SBDP, and was satisfied with the progress of the SBDP projects.

While reviewing the progress of the new projects to be funded through the Federal PSDP, he observed that 90 percent of the projects have been approved and included in Federal PSDP 2021-22 for Rs. 234.315 billion, out of which Rs. 25.721 billion has been allocated in the CFY. Likewise, for various approved and ongoing PSDP projects amounting to Rs. 274.689 billion, the allocation for the CFY amounted to Rs. 29.160 billion.

While reviewing the status of PC-I/IIs and the corresponding financials, the minister observed that Balochistan’s current portfolio in the Federal PSDP has a thin spreading of funds, and desired for a priority list of projects to be prepared so that fast-moving and strategic projects may be adequately funded for timely completion.

He also reviewed the progress of the priority SBDP projects, and was informed that the National Highway Authority (NHA) has begun the procurement for three projects — the construction of the Hoshab–Awaran–Khuzdar Section of the M-8 (Awaran–Naal 168 km) for Rs. 32 billion; the Hoshab-Awaran Section of the M-8 (146 km) for Rs. 38 billion; and the Rehabilitation & Upgradation of the Awaran—Jhaljao Road (54.8 km) at Rs. 6.9 billion.

It was highlighted that seven road sector projects amounting to Rs. 24.39 billion and seven water dam projects amounting to Rs. 48.68 billion have been approved/included in the PSDP 2021-22, and their award process is being expedited.

In order to address the shortage of water, especially at Gwadar, funds have been approved for the connection of the Shadi-Kaur dam with the Gwadar pipeline. Additionally, the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has accorded the approval for the installation of a 1.2 MGD desalination plant at Gwadar Port through a Chinese grant.

Minister Umar called for the completion of the desalination plant within six to nine months to ease the population of Gwadar.

While reviewing the progress of 15 projects that are to be funded through the Non-PSDP model for Rs. 20.376 billion, the minister observed that 78 percent of the projects have been approved while the projects amounting to approximately Rs. 10.188 billion are in various stages of implementation in the CFY.

In order to improve Digital Connectivity in Gwadar, Chaghi, Noukeshi, and Kech, the USF has awarded contracts for districts for Rs. 3200 million; the completion of which is planned to be by 24 July 2022.

The minister was further informed that the contract for High-Speed Broadband Connectivity along the M-8 and the National Highways is likely to be awarded by the third quarter of 2021.

The minister also reviewed the progress of the projects that are to be funded through the Public-Private Partnership model. He commented that the private sector is the real driver of growth for countries across the globe, and even today, the Sialkot-Kharian motorway has been inaugurated by the Prime Minister through such a model.

He was informed that the supply of LPG to the population of South Balochistan is a priority project whereby the Petroleum Division has prepared a draft summary for the Cabinet Committee on Energy (CCoE) for consideration, and has circulated the same for the feedback of all the stakeholders.

The house was further informed that the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) is working on the Off-grid Electrification of South Balochistan’s districts, and a consultant has also been procured.

The Fishermen Empowerment Programme has also been inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan as part of the Kamyab Jawan Program. An MOU has been signed between four banks (Punjab, NBP, Al Falah, and Habib), whereby they will provide loans to eligible applicants.

Source: Pro Pakistani

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