ISLAMABAD - The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) Thursday approved 53 projects worth Rs 478 billion including foreign exchange component (FEC) of Rs 172 billion. In the ECNEC meeting chaired by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, 15 foreign-funded projects worth Rs.165.5 billion were approved including foreign exchange component of Rs.117 billion. The meeting approved seven flood rehabilitation projects worth Rs.64.5 billion including foreign exchange component of Rs 28 billion. Meanwhile, 31 project including transport and communication, water and power, health, education, industries and commerce are among the 53 approved projects. The approved projects include Rs 2,091.4 million including Rs 34.0 million FEC for feasibility study, detailed engineering design and preparation of tender documents for Bunji (Revised). Some 22 projects of transport and communication sector were approved comprising construction of northern bypass from Qasim Bela to Shershah Road Multan bypass including grade separated elevated bridge over railway line 7 N-70 (length 12.229 km-Phase-III), construction of 2-Lane bridge over River Indus at Khushal Garh, District Kohat, rehabilitation of NGHA highways network damaged due to un-precedent monsoon rain and floods 2010, Gwadar Deep Water Port Project Phase-I (2nd Revised). Installation of ship lift and transfer system and associated machinery and equipment to provide docking and repair facilities to surface ships, submarines and commercial vessels (Revised). Constructions of northern bypass from Bosan road to Qasim Bela Multan including approach road from northern bypass to Multan Airport via Jameelabad Chowk Multan (length 16.05 km Phase-II) were also approved. Two projects of health sector worth Rs 26,983 million including Rs 14, 195 million FEC comprising medical equipment and ambulances for DHQ Hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) and expended programme on immunisation (EPI) (Revised). Other important approved projects are up-gradation and additional works of Expo Centre, Lahore, establishment of turbines and power plants equipment manufacturing facility at heavy mechanical complex, Taxila, Kala Dhaka Area development project (Revised), and Umbrella PC-I for the Sindh flood emergency reconstruction project for bunds and canals (2010), 76 Nos emergent flood protection schemes, restoration of canals/structures damages, restoration of drains/structure damages. Secretary Planning and Development Division Sohail Ahmed briefed about the need for rationalising the portfolio in line with resource availability. He also emphasised the need for a balance between new and ongoing projects, and the optimisation of the available resources. The meeting was attended by the federal minister for water and power, the federal minister for petroleum and natural resources, the federal minister for production, the minister of state for finance, economic and foreign affairs and Dr Nadeemul Haque, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission. The Sindh provincial minister for finance, federal secretaries and representatives from Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab, KPK, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Kashmir, and representatives of sponsoring agencies also attended the meeting. In his concluding remarks, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh emphasised the need for improving the monitoring and evaluation of projects to ensure transparency and best utilisation of national resources.