ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) was held at the Prime Minister’s Office, with the Finance Minister Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar in chair.
ECNEC in its meeting approved ten projects totaling Rs.218.554 billion which include irrigation, water, power, infrastructure, education and a project for distribution of 100000 laptops under the Prime Minister’s Scheme for the youth.
ECNEC approved the purchase of 100,000 laptops for distribution to students under the Prime Minister’s National Programme for provision of laptops to all PhDs/Masters as well as graduate and diploma in Engineering from Polytechnic to High Education Commission (HEC) at a cost of Rs.4.0 billion. The scheme is one of the initiatives launched under the Prime Minister’s Youth Schemes.
ECNEC also decided that no laptop shall be issued to those students who have availed it in the past under such an initiative nor shall they be eligible for laptops in future initiatives launched by federal and provincial governments.
ECNEC also directed HEC that bids for the laptops should include a condition that the bidders shall establish assembly plant leading to manufacture of laptops. This year laptops would be purchased off the shelf while in the consequent two years they will have to install assembly plants leading to manufacturing.
ECNEC also approved a project sponsored by the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Gilgit Baltistan titled “Basic Education for ALL” to open schools in the districts of AJ&K at a cost of Rs.1224.093 million. ECNEC directed the Ministry of Kashmir Affairs and Baltistan to ensure that there was no duplication.
ECNEC also approved a 14MW Hydropower Project Naltar-V at a total revised cost of Rs.3843.753 million. The objective of the construction of the project is to meet the power requirements of Gilgit Town.
ECNEC also gave principle approval to Sharmai (150MW) Hydropower Project located in Upper Dir, Shogo-Sen (132MW) Hydro-power Project and Shushgai-Zhendoli (144MW) Hydel Project in Chitral totaling Rs.91682.664 million. These projects proposed by the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were approved subject to condition that their financing requirement were fulfilled by the provincial government according to the constitution and that the information is shared with ECNEC once the projects are firmed up and achieve financial close.
ECNEC also approved the refurbishment and up gradation of generating limits of Mangla Power Station for enhancing its capacity from 1000MW to 1310MW at a proposed total cost of Rs.52224.307 million by Ministry of Water and Power. The project is being financed by USAID Grant of $150 million, US $ 102 million loan from JICA and an additional loan/grant of US $ 111 million. The project was approved subject to the condition that in case of non-availability of loan the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) shall complete the project from its own resources.
ECNEC approved the Kachhi Canal Project Phase-I at a revised cost of Rs.57,562 million. An amount of nearly Rs.37 billion has already been spent on the project. It has been decided that the Phase-I of this flagship project would be completed by December 2014. An additional amount of Rs.15 billion would be provided by the Federal Government as part of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s commitment to the people of Balochistan.
It would be pertinent to mention here that a Committee constituted by ECNEC under the Chairmanship of Deputy Chairman Planning Mr. Ahsan Iqbal visited the area on September 14, 2013 to inspect the project and present a report to ECNEC.
ECNEC also approved the construction of Shadi Kaur Storage Dam and appurtenants work proposed by the Government of Balochsitan at a cost of Rs.6522.81 million. The ECNEC approved the project subject to its Environment Impact Assessment.
ECNEC also approved the construction of Flyover at Koyla Phatak Samungli Road, Quetta at a total cost of Rs.1.4999 billion subject to its Environmental Impact Assessment. Federal Government provided Rs.3 billion under the Quetta Package and Government of Balochistan is constructing flyover under this package.
The meeting was attended by Senator Parvaiz Rashid Minister for Information, Broadcasting and National Heritage, Federal Ministers for Science and Technology Mr. Zahid Hamid, Planning and Development Mr. Ahsan Iqbal, Food and National Security Mr. Sikandar Bosan, Minister of State for Information Technology Ms. Anusha Rehman, Minister for Education Mr. Baleeghuddin, Mr. Jam Kamal, Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Resources, Mr. Abdur Rahim Ziaratwal, Provincial Minister Balochistan, Mr. Serajul Haq Senior Minister for Finance, Government of Khyber Pakhtunkwa, Mian Mustafa, Shuja-ur-Rehman, Minister of Finance Government of the Punjab and senior officials of the federal and provincial governments.