ISLAMABAD -  The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Tuesday approved development projects costing around Rs150 billion.

The ECNEC meeting was chaired by Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar. The ECNEC considered and approved the Prime Minister’s National Health Programme (Revised), which will be implemented in 34 districts all over the country at a rationalised cost of Rs8,179.092 million. The programme is expected to be completed in 36 months.

The project aims at improving the health status of the population in the country by ensuring access to quality health care especially enhancing coverage and access to secondary and priority treatment of the poor and vulnerable population. The insurance cover would be limited to Rs50,000 per family per annum for secondary care treatment and Rs250,000 per family per annum for priority treatment.

ECNEC also considered and approved “Renewable Energy Development Sector Investment Programme (REDSIP) (2nd revised PC I) at an estimated cost of Rs15,794.66 million including FEC of Rs4,865.97 million. The project envisages construction of three hydropower projects with total capacity of 56.2MW including 36.6MW Daral Khawar Hydropower project (HPP), 17MW Ranolia HPP and 2.6MW Machai HPP.

Under the programme, three feasibility studies of Koto HPP (31MW), Jabori HPP (8MW) and Karora HPP (9.8MW) will also be carried out besides capacity building of PEDO. The main objective of the REDSIP programme is to develop environment friendly and affordable renewable power potential of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The project will be located in the districts of Swat, kohistan, Mardan, Dir, Shangla, Mansehra and Peshawar.

The 1410MW Tarbela 5th Extension Hydropower Project was also approved by ECNEC at a revised cost of Rs82,361.6 million. The implementation period of the project will be around 48 months (2017-2021). The aim of the project is installation of three additional power generating units, having installed capacity of 470MW each (total 1410MW) on existing Tunnel-5 without affecting the capacity of irrigation release. The total installed capacity of Tarbela Dam after completion of Tarbela 5th extension will raise to 6298MW.

ECNEC also gave final approval for the Dualisation and Improvement of Mandra Chakwal Road Project (Revised) at the total cost of Rs9332.006 million. The project had been approved by ECNEC in principle on March 8, 2016. The project is for the rehabilitation of 64km existing road to a width of 7.3 m (2-lanes carriageway), construction of additional 7.3m wide road (2-lanes carriageway) provision of 7.3m wide and 14.5km Chakwal Northern by-pass, a railway flyover with allied structures and facilities.

ECNEC approved the proposal of the Balochistan government to change the executing agency for the construction/up-gradation of Dirgi Shabozai (N-70) to Taunsa Sharif (N-55) Road (175km) project from Balochistan Development Authority to Communications and Works Department. The project has already been approved by ECNEC on September 13, 2013 at the total cost of Rs4795.980 million. The project envisages the construction/up-gradation of 6.1m wide and 155km long road besides widening of 20km long section from 3.65m width and allied facilities between Dirgi-Shabozai on N-70 leading to Taunsa Sharif on N-55 with the cost being shared by the federal and provincial governments in 60:40 ratio.




Construction of 6-Lane Highway from Kala Shah Kaku to Lahore Ring road (18.30 Km) including Bridge over River Ravi (Lahore Eastern Bypass) was also approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs12, 848.047 million. The scope of work also includes construction of 6-lane bridge over River Ravi spanning 800m, 2 bridges over railway crossings, 4 bridges on drains/nullahs, 5 underpasses, 3 interchanges, 17 cattle creeps, 12 culverts, drainage, erosion and flood protection works. The executing agency for the project will be the National Highway Authority. The project will be completed in a period of 24 months starting from October 2016.

ECNEC also approved the “Technology Park Development Project-Islamabad” at the total cost of Rs9246.013 million. The foreign exchange component for the project (Rs7983.091; included in the total cost) will be provided by the EXIM Bank of Korea through a soft loan. The project is expected to be completed in four years. The project envisages the establishment of Information Technology Park on 14.9 acres of land leased by PSEB at Kuri Road Chak Shahzad, Islamabad.

The concept design park proposes two phases of self contained and interconnected buildings having covered area of approximately 45000 square meters providing office space and other facilities to IT companies. ECNEC was also briefed that the successful completion of the project will open door of direct/indirect employment opportunities for Pakistanis.

ECNEC also approved “Faculty Development Programme for Pakistani Universities” at the rationalised cost of Rs7142 million. The programme is expected to be completed by December 2024. Under the project, 2000 Split PhD scholarships to non-PhD faculty members already inducted in the public sector universities/Degree Awarding Institutes (DAIs). Scholars will start their initial research in Pakistan and at any point during research he/she would be required to proceed abroad for a maximum period of 6-12 months with the recommendation of the local supervisor and acceptance by the foreign supervisor for the research work. The programme is expected to improve the quality of higher education in the country. According to HEC, all provinces will be given due representation in the programme.