ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Tuesday chaired a meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) and approved important development projects.

Diamer Bhasha Dam project (only dam component) was approved at a total rationalised cost of Rs 474,000 million. The dam will have a 6.4 MAF live storage capacity and installed power capacity of 4,500 MW. After completion, the project will increase national water storage capacity of Pakistan from 38 days to 45 days and will enhance life span on downstream reservoirs including Tarbela Dam.

Revision of Gawadar Lasbela Livelihoods Support Project was approved at a total rationalised cost of Rs 2,998.10 million. The project aims at poverty reduction in two districts of Balochistan i.e. Gawadar & Lasbella. This project comprises of major initiatives including community development, fisheries development and rural infrastructure improvement.

Evacuation of power from 1320 MW RLNG power plant near Trimmu, Jhang was approved at a total rationalised cost of Rs 4,231.83 million.

Revision of the federal programme under ‘Access to Justice Programme’ was also accorded approval at a total rationalised cost of Rs 4,711.981 million. The ongoing project aims at implementing legislative, judicial, police and administrative reforms with construction of required physical infrastructure including office buildings.

ECNEC approved replacement of old and obsolete signal gear from Lodhran-Multan-Khanewal-Shahdara Bagh Main Line Section of Pakistan Railways (revised) at a total rationalised cost of Rs 18,346.60 million. The scope of work of this project also includes remodeling of Yousafwala Railway station and upgradation of 24 unmanned railway level crossings into manned level crossings.

Meanwhile, Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet on Tuesday has given approval to Pakistan State Oil (PSO) for import of furnace oil to be used by the power sector.

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi chaired a meeting of the ECC of the Cabinet at PM Office. The decision has been made to ensure adequate fuel stock in the coming months. The government has recently lifted the ban on import of furnace oil for running power plants to meet growing electricity demand in summer.

The government had imposed restrictions a few months ago on the consumption of furnace oil in power plants, preferring liquefied natural gas (LNG) in electricity production. Since then, PSO had placed no fresh orders for imports.

However, the government has allowed PSO to import furnace oil to generate additional electricity in the summer. Sources said that the government has decided that this time power producers will make payments to PSO in advance to avoid the accumulation of circular debt.

Owing to inability of the power producers to clear earlier dues of PSO, receivables of the oil marketing company have swelled beyond Rs300 billion Transportation tariff for Machike – Taru Jabba Oil Pipeline (427 Km) project was approved by the ECC. Tariff will be ratified by OGRA after due process.

The project will be completed in three sections and envisages environment friendly and safe movement of fuel.

The project will also provide for additional storage of fuel and enable supply to major distribution centers in central and northern Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The ECC further directed that all future pipeline projects will require approval of the Cabinet.

In order to ensure stable and reliable power supply through National Grid System and to enhance NTDC system capacity, the ECC accorded approval for issuance of Government of Pakistan Sovereign Guarantee against financing facility of Rs 9,846 million from local banks for NTDC projects.