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Ecnec approves Rs154bn projects

September 20, 2007

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ISLAMABAD, Sept 19: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Wednesday approved 45 development projects of the value of Rs154 billion, including four schemes with Rs7.2 billion for production of nuclear fuel to meet the nuclear power generation target of 8,800MW by 2030.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz presided over the meeting. Dr Akram Sheikh, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, told newsmen after the meeting that five projects in the nuclear energy sector had been approved at an estimated cost of Rs8.8 billion.

These include Rs1.6 billion acquisition and development of land and construction of office buildings for the second phase of Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (Kanupp-2). Four different schemes were being launched by the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC), as part of Pakistan Nuclear Power Fuel Complex, at a cost of Rs7.2 billion to set up fuel fabrication plant, seamless tube plant, nuclear power fuel testing project and upgradation of Chashnupp centre for nuclear training.

Dr Sheikh sidestepped questions relating to the monitoring role of the Planning Commission, particularly in the implementation of large projects and award of contracts to military organisations for construction of mega-projects like Karachi Northern Bypass and the Coastal Highway through negotiations and without inviting tenders. But, he said, the Planning Commission did not monitor Northern Bypass construction while damage to a small patch of the coastal highway was not reflective of the entire project.

He said that investigation report about the Northern Bypass incident would be made public when Prime Minister’s Inspection Commission completed its work.

The deputy chairman said that Ecnec had approved five projects in the education and higher education sector at a cost of Rs24.4 billion including Rs7.7 billion project for providing basic facilities like drinking water and toilets in 16,000 schools.

The project, he said, would be completed by different formations of the Pakistan Army. He said about 57,000 schools in the country lacked basic amenities and the provinces would provide these facilities in the remaining 41,000 schools.

Of the 45 projects, Dr Sheikh said that the meeting had approved 39 new projects costing Rs140.7 billion. Another six ongoing projects were revised and their cost increased from Rs7.5 billion to Rs13.4 billion. Among the projects 29 are in the infrastructure sector which will cost Rs101 billion.