ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Thursday approved nine development projects with a total estimated cost of Rs251.31 billion including a major water supply project for Karachi.

The meeting of the newly reconstituted forum was presided over by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh and attended by ministers for Planning, Industries and Economic Affairs besides advisers to Prime Minister on Commerce, Institutional Reforms and Austerity.

The meeting approved a summary regarding construction of Gwadar-Ratodero Road project (M-8) sponsored by the Ministry of Communication at a rationalised cost of Rs38.026bn.

The committee also approved phase-II of the Pak-China Optical Fibre Cable (OFC) Project for establishment of cross-border OFC network (Khunjerab-Karachi) along CPEC routes at a total cost of Rs37.96bn.

Major water supply scheme for Karachi given go-ahead

The Ecnec also approved Covid-19 response and other natural calamities control programme at the cost of Rs70bn as federal share.

A summary was presented to Ecnec regarding provision of advanced skills development through international scholarship phase-1 for Masters and PhD programmes to be executed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The committee also approved Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 million gallons per day (phase-1) at a cost of Rs25.552bn. The project has now been made part of the Rs739bn Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP). The expected period of completion is four years. The project is aimed at provision of environment friendly water sanitation and waste management infrastructure to residents of the city.

Similarly, the solid waste emergency and efficiency project was also presented before the Ecnec by the Housing and Town Planning Department, Government of Sindh with total cost of Rs16.8bn including IBRD-World Bank loan of Rs16bn.

It also approved the KP human capital investment project (education component) at cost of Rs18.91bn ($115m).

Published in Dawn, January 22nd, 2021

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