ISLAMABAD: Amid an eight-month delay to the Mohmand Dam completion because of flood damages, the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development on Thursday sought an end to public procurement rules to ensure ‘quality projects in the country instead of low-cost projects.

Presided over by Senator Atta ur Rehman, the Senate panel was informed that over $1.5 billion worth of Mohmand Dam’s structure had been damaged by recent floods, resulting in a project delay of about eight months. Officials of the Planning Division said both tunnels of the dam were marred by land sliding and some other under-construction parts of the project also got damaged.

The meeting was informed that the prime minister had appointed a five-member fact-finding committee to probe the losses to the dam. The committee comprised local and international experts in relevant fields. The team had already visited the project and would soon be submitting a report to the prime minister.

The committee was informed that once completed the dam will help regulate floods, thus mitigating the risk of flooding in low-lying areas in Charsadda, Peshawar and Nowshera districts.

During a briefing on amendments to Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules, the committee was informed that rules would ensure maximum transparency and efficiency as PPRA had been continually trying to remove all unnecessary hurdles in the way of development projects.

The committee was along with the lowest bid, the new rules also required standards to be the key determining factor for the award of new contracts for development projects.

The members of the committee stressed the need for doing away with PPRA rules as the country needed quality projects instead of low-cost projects.

The committee unanimously agreed to the proposal and recommended that a meeting with the prime minister should be arranged so that further transparency and improvements are introduced in awarding contracts for various development projects.

During discussions on foreign aid for flood relief activities, the Planning Com­mission officials denied that the IMF expressed reservations about estimates of flood losses in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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