ISLAMABAD: The government has decided to invite foreign investors to invest in mega road projects on build-operate-transfer (BOT) basis, with the National Highway Authority writing to embassies to invite investors.
The decision was taken at a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee for Planning, Development and Reforms, which was chaired by Agha Shahzaib Durrani, in the parliament house. The committee session commenced despite the lack of quorum, with only one member of the 12-member committee and the chairman in attendance.
The remaining 11 members did not join till the end, with the chairman expressing anger over the absence of the minister of planning. Senator Durrani also sought an explanation from the ministry over the minister’s absence from the committee meeting.
Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan informed the meeting that the minister had gone to meet the prime minister and may join the meeting later. In a stern rebuke, the chairman said that the minister must be told that it would be better for him to improve his attendance in the meeting.
National Highway Authority (NHA) Chairman Jawad Rafique Malik informed the committee that the authority was focusing on BOT project-financing for mega projects of highways. The 300-kilometer long Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway will be constructed on BOT basis, he said, adding that letters will be written to embassies of various countries to invite investors for the motorway. “The Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project is viable commercially. People will take interest in it,” he said, adding that the authority is planning to take a few other projects on BOT basis as well.
The committee chairman also inquired about the contractor of the Kalat-Quetta road construction, to which the NHA chairman said the project is funded with US grant, and the donor agency had put a condition that the construction should be given to Frontier Works Organization (FWO).
Upon this, Senator Durrani inquired if there had been any briefing in this regard and whether all funded projects will be awarded to the FWO.
Meanwhile, representatives of the ministry of finance briefed the committee about the Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) and its mandate, including structuring projects with private and public partnership. At present, the authority is working on three projects of foreign ministry, two of Pakistan Post and one project of National Savings. The representatives also told the committee about its working on highway projects. However, the PPPA could not satisfy the committee on certain technical issues, and the chairman sought a comprehensive briefing in the next meeting.