ISLAMABAD: The National Highway Authority (NHA) has fetched over Rs213 million by auctioning its 201 vehicles that were being used at offices of the authority in different parts of the country.
The vehicles were auctioned in line with the austerity drive launched by the federal government to cope with the serious economic crisis the country is facing.
The process of auction of the NHA’s vehicles began on Oct 15 and concluded on Monday when 19 vehicles of the authority’s Gilgit office were auctioned for Rs4.51 million.
Earlier, the NHA auctioned 62 vehicles at its headquarters, 15 at the Peshawar office, nine at the Abbottabad office, 24 at the Lahore office, 14 at the Multan office, 10 at the Sukkur office, 13 at the Karachi office and 35 at the Quetta office.
The NHA is facing a serious financial crisis and its liabilities (payments to be made to contractors) have risen to over Rs30 billion.
The financial crunch has forced the NHA management to stop not only mega development projects, but also those projects that were being executed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Recently, the finance division gave Rs8 billion to the NHA against its total liabilities of R40 billion to provide the authority some relief, but the amount of liabilities — in terms of payments to be made to contractors — is increasing with each passing day because after certain days the authority is bound to pay dues of the contractors with seven per cent interest.
Once the construction work stops on development projects because of non-payment of dues by the NHA, the contractors also charge prolongation charges (for their labour, machinery, etc, on the site).
Because of this situation, actually the liabilities of the NHA have been increasing by Rs600 million a month (with seven per cent interest which is estimated at Rs200 million and prolongation charges of Rs400 per month).
NHA sources said that because of the financial crisis, development work on the 400km Hakla-DIK Motorway and all projects relating to the Karachi-Lahore Motorway had been stopped.
Most of these projects were related to the CPEC and were to be completed by December this year.
Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018