The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) has cleared a total of eight projects having a total estimated cost of Rs243.73 billion.
Minister for Planning and Development Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar presided over, the meeting which formally approved a total of four development projects with a total cost of Rs6.552bn while referred four other projects of Rs237.178bn to the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) for formal approval.
Two projects of combined cycle power plant of 1,230MW each one at Haveli Bahadur Shah (HBS), District Jhang worth Rs97.253bn and the second one at Balloki, District Kasur worth Rs94.038bn were presented to the committee. Both projects are based on RLNG and have been up and running for almost a year now but still remain formally unapproved.
Both the projects were allocated funds in PSDP 2015-16 and 2016-17 under cash development loans which were later converted into government equity on June 30, 2017. The GOP equity was then transferred to Pakistan Development Fund Ltd (PDFL) created under the Ministry of Finance through a ‘gift’ from the Saudi Government.
The HBS project was originally conceived at an estimated cost of Rs90bn in May 2015 and revised to Rs98.234bn in December 2015 by the CDWP. The project cost was revised twice over the next two years but the project was completed at cost of Rs97.253bn.
Likewise, the Balloki project was conceived at cost of Rs88bn in May 2015 and kept on changing until completed at an estimated cost of Rs94bn as exchange rate increased from Rs101 to Rs141 per dollar. The foreign exchange component of the project dropped from Rs76bn to about Rs50bn each.
Under the current financial powers, the CDWP can itself approve projects costing no more than Rs3bn while the projects of higher estimated costs are approved by Ecnec once the CDWP clears them on technical grounds.Both projects have been referred to ECNEC for further discussion and final approval.