Chairman NHA demands Rs125bn for road projects under CPEC

National Highways Authority (NHA) is set to demand over Rs125 billion for the ongoing road projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC); however, it would not consider any new project in the next financial year (2017-18).

The NHA would require over Rs800 billion in next financial year (2017-18) to complete ongoing projects on priority basis and it would not consider any new project, said Chairman NHA Shahid Ashrad Tarar while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Communication.

The parliamentary panel met in the chair of Muhammad Muzammil Qureshi to consider the budgetary proposals of NHA relating to Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the year 2017-18.

The acting secretary for Ministry of Communication and chairman NHA informed the committee that during the fiscal year 2017-18 all the ongoing projects of the Ministry of Communication would be given priority and it would try to complete them; however, no new project will be commenced.

He further said that Rs188 billion against the demand of Rs304 billion were earmarked for the NHA for the current financial year 2016-17, whereas Rs140 billion have so far been utilised. The Authority’s expenditure is expected to cross the mark of Rs200 billion, he added.

According to a presentation slide presented before the committee, the NHA would demand Rs875 billion including Rs125.52 billion for the CPEC projects as compared to Rs60 billion for the current financial year. However, the NHA chairman said that it is too early to come up with a final decision as Planning Commission would be held by mid-March.

Tarar further said that Gilgit-Chitral-Chakdara Road has been included in the CPEC during the 6th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held in Beijing (China). The project has been handed over to the Transport Working Group and would be approved in the coming JCC. He further said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif would inaugurate the 80-km portion of M-9 (136-km) on January 25, 2017.

The NHA had sought Expression of Interest (EoI) from local and international investors/firms for Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway where 10 companies had applied. The pre-qualified firms have been asked to submit bids by February 15, 2017, said the chairman. The construction work is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017, the deadline given by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, and it would be completed in three years.