ISLAMABAD, March 20: The ministry of finance has refused to release Rs15 billion to the National Highway Authority (NHA) under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) leaving the NHA in great trouble, Dawn has learnt.

In the budget 2011-12, an amount of Rs33 billion was allocated of which Rs18bn had so far been released to the authority and the remaining was withheld on the plea that it may be compensated from the special grants and foreign funding the authority received from the government and foreign banks for some construction works.

The NHA has so far received a grant of Rs4 billion for land acquisition for Faisalabad-Multan-Motorway (M-4), Rs2bn for Lowari Tunnel on the special directives of the prime minister. Apart from this, the NHA has also received Rs12bn foreign funding for different projects from different sources, it has been learnt.

Federal Minister for Communication Dr Arbab Alamgir Khan told Dawn that the ministry of finance had included grants and foreign funding in the PSDP allocation of NHA.

The minister said that such funds were not part of PSDP. “Grants are issued in some specific circumstances on the directives of president or prime minister. Similarly, foreign funding comes for particular projects after intensive negotiations between NHA officials and foreign organisations. These funds have nothing to do with the PSDP allocation,” the minister added.

“I have informed the finance ministry that the withheld share of NHA be released so that the ongoing roads construction projects are completed,” Alamgir said. He also said that there should be appropriate/equal allocations for all the four provinces and the PSDP share of one province should not be spent on roads in another province.

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