ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Communications on Tuesday directed the National Highways Authority (NHA) to provide details about awarding of contract for the Multan-Sukkur motorway project.

The details were sought after Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Nauman Wazir alleged that there was corruption of Rs137 billion in the project.

The Multan-Sukkur motorway project has a length of 392 kilometres.

According to Mr Wazir, as many as three Chinese companies were short-listed for the project and all of them submitted their feasibilities, mentioning the cost of the project from Rs240bn to Rs245bn.

Later, a local company was directed to submit its feasibility to counter-check the cost of the project. The local company filed its feasibility and mentioned the same range of the project’s cost. But the project was awarded for Rs440b, he added.

Moreover, he said, the Chinese company which got the contract for the project was allowed to import duty-free machinery and cement. He claimed that the price of iron in Pakistan was Rs90,000 per tonne, but iron for the project was imported from China at the rate of Rs150,000 per tonne.

Mr Wazir alleged embezzlement of Rs137bn of public money in the project, claiming that the motorway was being made for about Rs1bn per kilometre. “We should ask Chinese authorities to return Rs137bn and renegotiate deals for projects being launched under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” he said.

He said Pakistan should follow the example of Malaysia where projects were being renegotiated because of the allegation of corruption.

NHA chairman Jawad Rafique Malik assured the committee that he would provide complete details of the project to it.

Published in Dawn, August 8th, 2018

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