ISLAMABAD - The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (ECNEC) has approved development projects costing over Rs100 billion in addition to granting ex-post facto approval to the development of Phase-1 of Kartarpur Sahib Corridor on EPE/Turnkey mode, Monday.

The ECNEC, chaired by Adviser to Prime Minister Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also approved Pakistan Raises Revenue Project including its Investment Project Financing (IPF) Component at the total cost of Rs12.48 billion, an equivalent of US$ 80 million. The aim of the proposed program is to eliminate country’s fiscal constraints through sustainable increase in revenues by broadening tax base and reducing tax expenses by modernizing Federal Board of Revenue with advanced ICT based operations as a part of its transformation roadmap.

The proposed project is a component of World Bank’s funded IDA soft loan amounting to US$400 million. The loan has two components, US$320 million for result-based disbursement linked indicators (DLI), and US$80 million for its traditional investment project Financing (IPF). To ensure inter-connectivity of FBR offices through installation of ICT equipment at all FBR offices and Customs control posts for data-sharing and communication is envisaged under this project. The Chair directed that FBR should give a detailed presentation on the strateg y for the utilization of the funds, specially the DLI component and its impact in the next meeting of ECNEC.

The project targets raising the tax-to-GDP ratio to 17 percent by financial year 2023-2024

The project targets raising the tax-to-GDP ratio to 17 percent by financial year 2023-2024 and widening the tax net from the current 1.2 million to at least 3.5 million active taxpayers. The project will help simplifying the tax regime and strengthening tax and customs administration. It will also equip the FBR with technology and digital infrastructure as well as technical skills for the human resources. The government has set improving tax revenue with low compliance costs as a high priority.

Meanwhile, The Winder Dam Project, to be constructed across Winder River in District Lasbela, Balochistan, was approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs. 15,230.76 million with the condition that command area development and land acquisition will be started parallel to the main project by the Government of Balochistan. It is expected that the project will be completed in four years. The Balochistan government will ensure completion of the project within approved scope and cost. In case of any revisions, increase in cost will be borne by the provincial government from its own resources.

Kachhi Canal Project at District Dera Bugti, Balochistan Province was also approved with the revised cost of Rs. 22,921 million with the recommendation that there will be no deviation from scope and cost. A component of detailed engineering design / tender documents/ PC-Is for phase II and phase III costing Rs.120 million has been added in the cost summary of this project which will be actively pursued. The Balochistan Agriculture Department will ensure resolution of land settlement issues and development of command area of 102,000 acres to be developed by December 2020. The responsibility of technical soundness of design will rest with the project consultants NESPAK and no deviation from the design will be made. The project shall be completed in 3 years from the date of approval.

EX- Post Facto approval for the Development of Kartarpur Sahib corridor on EPC/ turnkey basis phase- I (Gurudwara Kartarpur Sahib District Narowal) at a modified cost of Rs 16,546.2 million was also granted by ECNEC.

Lahore Water and wastewater Management Project – Sewerage System from Larech Colony to Gulshan-e Ravi, Lahore (through trench-less technology) was approved by ECNEC at the revised cost of Rs. 14,430.506 million. The cost includes Rs. 14,165.06 million AIIB loan (US$256 million) in addition to already incurred amount of Rs 265.446 million. The project aims at comprehensive and detailed design of sanitation system for disposal of sewerage and wastewater.

The construction of Eastern Wastewater Treatment Plant (44 MGD) of Faisalabad City ( Phase-I) at the total cost of Rs. 19,071.222 million was approved by ECNEC. The foreign component of the project includes loan and grant from the government of Denmark (DANIDA) amounting to Rs. 17, 238.179 million, 35 percent of which is a grant and the remaining is the loan component.

The Chair directed to set up a committee with Minister EAD and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission to prepare a mechanism for planning disbursement of necessary aid in a fair and transparent manner where all provinces have an equal chance of getting a fair share according to their developmental needs and the priorities of the Government of Pakistan.