ISLAMABAD  -   The pace of ongoing projects executed by the National Highway Authority (NHA) is expected to be increased in coming months as most of the contractors got their pending dues after the release of around Rs25 billion by the Finance Division.

“There were liabilities of around 30 billion rupees on the account of different ongoing projects, which forced the contractors to slow down the pace of work on ground”, sources inside the Finance Wing NHA informed, adding: “However after the release of around 25 billion rupees from the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP), the contractors have got major chunk of their outstanding dues.”

The previous government while preparing its last budget for financial year 2018-19 had allocated Rs301.6b for NHA to finance its 121 schemes including 43 ongoing and 78 new projects.

However, the incumbent government after assuming the power, had decided to revise the budget 2018-19 and tabled a supplementary finance bill in the National Assembly, reducing the overall PSDP allocations whereas the allocation for NHA was also reduced to Rs185.197b, which is 61 percent of the original allocation made by the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz government.

In revised PSDP 2018-19, the government has not only excluded a number of projects of NHA but also decreased the amount previously allocated in the budget for most of the projects. A total of 83 project of NHA were excluded in revised PSDP, which includes 7 ongoing and 76 new schemes.

The incumbent government has again included 4 out of total 7 ongoing schemes as new schemes in revised PSDP besides including 2 entirely new projects in new schemes.

As per a set mechanism of the Planning Commission of Pakistan for the release of funds, 20 percent of funds are released in first quarter (July- September), 20 per cent in second quarter (October-December), 25 per cent third quarter (January-March) and 35 per cent in fourth quarter (April-June) in each financial year.

An amount of Rs185 billion including Rs112.9 billion local and Rs72.2 billion foreign funding was allocated in revised PSDP 2018-19 for NHA and according to the formula, the NHA was supposed to receive Rs45.16 billion in first two quarters but it got around Rs33 billion so far.

 However, when contacted, the Member Finance NHA Salah-ud-Deen said that the authority has disbursed the received amount among the contractors without any discrimination and it is expected that the Finance Ministry would also release the remaining funds soon.