ISLAMABAD - The new Islamabad international airport, which was estimated to be completed at a cost of Rs36 billion, has crossed Rs100 billion expense because of mismanagement and lack of financial farsightedness of Civil Aviation Authority, the audit has pointed out. The audit report on the accounts of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for the year 2014-2015 explains the financial affairs of the new airport in Islamabad and has criticised the authority for not properly managing the mega project.

The audit has documented that an examination of the record relating to the project revealed that original PC-I of the project was approved in March 2008 with a cost estimation of Rs36 billion and completion period of 30 months. Appendix-E of the PC-1 contained financial and sensitivity analysis report which showed that project was financially viable in terms of Net Present Value (NPV) and cost-benefit ratio. The financial viability was based on the assumption that new airport would be yielding revenue (aeronautical and non-aeronautical) during 2011-12 and project would be completed within the approved cost and time.

“The project was still incomplete. Revised PC-I of Islamabad International Airport Project amounting to Rs81,171 million excluding variations, claims and escalation was approved in CAA Board's 148th meeting on April 15, 2014. Additional cost of Rs14,000 million was estimated on account of variations, claims and escalations. As per revised PC-I, new date of completion has been fixed as June 2016. This shows that the financial and sensitivity analysis report was not based on facts and it was misleading.”

It has been reported that the financial viability was based on assumptions of yielding aeronautical and non-aeronautical revenue during 2011-12 but cost of Rs 24,480 million of the necessary components required for completion and operation for yielding revenue was not included in the PC-I. Resultantly, the project was made financially and technically unviable. The PC-I was prepared by PMC who were responsible of its completeness and planning the entire work to ensure completion by 2011 but they had not been penalised.

The audit has pointed out that the tendering process of various packages was initiated in utter disregard to the physical phasing planned in PC-I. Resultantly, the project was extraordinarily delayed. Overall physical progress of 75.75 % and 63 % payment status had been shown in the monthly progress report for June 2014. Still the PMC and contractors were unable to give final assessment of completion of work.

Now all the assumptions for financial analysis based on capital cost, operating expenses and revenue generation had been rendered irrelevant and financial analysis was emerging into negative position. Revised PC-1 of Rs81.171 billion including foreign exchange component of Rs 19.828 billion had been approved which was Rs44.306 billion more than the original PC-1 approved for Rs36.856 billion which proved that the estimates were poor and defective.

In the revised PC-1, foreign component had been provided of Rs19.828 billion which was 24.24% of revised PC-1 cost of Rs 81.171 billion. This also showed that the foreign component was kept below the upper limit of 25 % to avoid approval of the ECNEC, the audit further revealed. In the original PC-1, 100% cost was to be financed by CAA while as per financial plan (revised PC-1), 70% (Rs56.820 billion) of the project cost was being financed by the CAA from its own resources while remaining 30% (Rs24.351 billion) would be financed through loan. This shows the CAA does not have sufficient resources to finance the ill-planned project as per approved financial phasing.The CAA required Rs20 billion for the works which were yet to be awarded and completed. CAA had to finance Rs52.641 billion up to June 2017 for which the Authority had to upgrade its revenue stream. The authority had only bank balance of Rs16.726 billion including term deposits of Rs8.2 billion as on 27th October 2014.

Completion cost of the airport has been estimated Rs95 billion for which borrowing from external sources would be Rs25.4 billion plus borrowing cost of Rs12 billion. Due to financial mismanagement CAA planned fund management in coordination with banks which would lead CAA to bankruptcy in the present scenario. The project cost in real sense has crossed Rs100 billion. It is costing Rs1 billion per month for the delay.

The CAA was required to critically review pace of project implementation, put in place measures to control time and cost overruns but also plug the gaping holes in identification, translation of digitally captured data into building and realisation of billed revenue in a transparent and efficient manner.

The matter was discussed in the DAC meeting held in January 2015 wherein the committee directed the CAA to take measures to control time and cost overruns, increase revenue stream through realisation of billed amount extension of commercial activities in a transparent manner. The DAC further directed the authority to improve financial forecasting, strategic planning, project monitoring and explore other revenue generating sources to complete the mega projects and other development and non-development activates.