ISLAMABAD - The government wants to switch infrastructure projects to public-private partnership (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) mode for the road and railway projects, from the Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) funding, in view of the shrinking public financing for the developmental projects, a Punjab minister said.

The PSDP is not enough for the swift and timely completion of the ongoing infrastructure projects and the projects envisaged under 12th five years plan, therefore efforts are required to find innovative and alternate financing, said Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

He was chairing a meeting to discuss and review infrastructure projects under CPEC framework, PSDP funded projects and identify innovative funding mechanisms to finance the infrastructure projects here at Islamabad. The meeting was attended by Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary Communication Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, DG National Logistics Cell Maj. Gen. Asim Iqbal, Engineer-in- Chief of Pakistan Army Lt. Gen. Muhammad Afzal, Chairman NHA Jawad Rafique Malik, Member Infrastructure Malik Ahmed Khan and senior officials of the Ministry were also present in the meeting.

The minister was briefed about the progress on various road infrastructure and railway projects. The main focus of the meeting was on finding the alternate source of funding for the infrastructure projects as it consumes too much of the PSDP. The minister called for making concerted efforts to find innovative ways of financing infrastructure projects in view of limited fiscal space for implementation of projects through PSDP. “There is a need to explore innovative funding options like public-private partnership (PPP) or build-operate-transfer (BOT) mode in the transport and logistics sector,” stated the minister.

The shortage of funds causes delay to the projects which results in the increase cost of these projects. Switching over to the PPP or BOT mode will relieve burden on PSDP and also facilitate provision of adequate funds for the ongoing infrastructure projects for their timely completion, said the Minister.

Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said that Ministry of Planning is in the process of finalising the 12th Five Year Plan and there is a need to set priorities on how to go about developing infrastructure under an effective planning. The Minister also stressed on finding ways for generating revenue by utilising existing asset base for financing and effective implementation projects pertaining to roads and highways.

The Minister has emphasised the need for devising a holistic strategy for developing and upgrading infrastructure across the country and fill connectivity gaps for sustained national growth.During the meeting, Chairman National Highway Authority (NHA) gave a briefing on various ongoing infrastructure projects including multiple routes under CPEC framework.