Five mega-projects stuck up
KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister, Justice (retd) Maqbool Baqar in his meeting with Prime Minister Anwar ul Haq Kakar at the PM House in Islamabad discussed five important development projects of his province and urged him to issue necessary directives to remove bottlenecks for their completion and launch.
In a statement issued from the CM House on Monday said that the chief minister held an important meeting with Prime Minister Kakar in which he apprised the PM about the impediments that emerged in five projects which could be removed with his interventions. The PM’s response was not only positive but quite supportive and helpful, the statement said.
The chief minister told the prime minister that the federal government needed to provide a sovereign guarantee for the Karachi Circular Railways (KCR) project loan, showcasing strong commitment at the national level. “The sovereign guarantee adds a layer of financial security and assurance for investors and stakeholders involved in the project,” the CM said and requested the prime minister that the federal government sign a framework agreement so that the project could move ahead under CPEC.
The CM also requested the prime minister to direct Pakistan Railways to hand over land along the Right of Way (RoW) for KCR which was critical for the success of the project.
The prime minister assured the CM that he would resolve the issue of the Sindh government’s important projects.
About BRT Redline project, the CM told the prime minister that the project was being implemented with the assistance of ADB and Co-financers’ including AIIB, AFD and GCF.
The PC-1 with respect to the Karachi Redline BRT project was cleared by CDWP on April 15, 2019, and approved by ECNEC on August 29, 2019, involving a cost of Rs78,384.33 million ($503.21 million). The loan agreement was signed in June 2020, between the Sindh govt and the Asian Development Bank and became effective in October 2020.
The CM apprised the PM that the price adjustment/escalation formula proposal with a cost impact of Rs6.31 billion, was approved by Trans Karachi Board and Sindh Cabinet. The Sindh government has forwarded the formula proposal to the ECNEC/Planning Commission, which is pending for more than two months.
The prime minister assured the CM that he would discuss the matter with the Planning Commission to accord the approval.
Justice Baqar discussing Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply (K-IV) project with the PM, said that the dilapidated infrastructure and a weak distribution system have resulted into widening the gap between the supply and consumption of water, which has added to the miseries of the people.
He added that the revised PC-I has already been approved by ECNEC in 2022 for Rs126,404.751 million. “Originally scheduled to be completed by March 2023, the project has been delayed for multiple reasons and is now planned to be completed by October 2024,” the CM said.
The CM requested the prime minister to direct the concerned ministry to allocate an additional amount of at least Rs24.5 billion towards the K-IV project during the current financial year 2023-24. The prime minister assured the CM of his support for the project.
About the Malir Expressway, the CM told the prime minister that work on the Malir Expressway was in full swing but some NOCs / permission from the federal ministries posed major obstacles in carrying forward the construction activities as the commercial banks – the lenders on the project – have made these NOCs a condition for moving forward with disbursements. “If these NOCs are not arranged by 15 November 2023 the lenders will stop further disbursements,” the CM said.
The prime minister assured the CM that he would talk to the concerned ministry to expedite the issuance of the NOCs so that the project could get its finances at the earliest.
The chief minister also discussed the Cross-input Tax, under which the federal government has deducted Rs31 billion from Sindh government.
He urged the prime minister to direct FBR to reconcile the amount with the Sindh Revenue Board (SRB) so that the amount deducted could be settled.
The interim prime minister told the caretaker chief minister to send his team comprising provincial chairman planning and development, secretary transport and other concerned officers to Islamabad where a mutual meeting with concerned federal secretaries would be arranged to settle the issues.