ISLAMABAD: The government on Tuesday added 13 more projects costing Rs142.5 billion to the already bloated Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) amid growing chances of a cut in the development budget in the current fiscal year due to anticipated shortfall in revenues.
The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) approved seven projects worth Rs10 billion and recommended six schemes valuing at Rs132.5 billion to the Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) for consideration, according to a statement issued by the planning ministry.
These projects were part of the PSDP 2019-20 but their funding would only resume once they are approved by the CDWP and Ecnec.
The CDWP has powers to approve up to Rs3 billion worth of projects, although Ecnec in its last meeting agreed to extend the ceiling to Rs10 billion subject to approval by the National Economic Council (NEC).
The federal government has approved Rs701 billion for development spending in the current fiscal year but the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) report shows the development budget at Rs631 billion.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has already said the PSDP spending is subject to the FBR's ability to achieve Rs5.5-trillion tax collection target.
Despite that, the Planning Commission on Tuesday held a second meeting of the CDWP in the past seven days.
The CDWP recommended the Karachi Urban Mobility Project, known as the yellow bus rapid transit (BRT) corridor, worth Rs56 billion to Ecnec for final approval, stated the planning ministry.
The project included construction of a 21km-long dedicated bus rapid transit system having 28 stations, procurement of 268 buses, rehabilitation of road infrastructure along the corridor and a social management plan for existing bus operators, it added.
The World Bank has approved $382 million for the construction of the 21km yellow corridor. The Karachi Yellow Line project will need Rs1.7 billion in annual operational subsidies. In May this year, the CDWP had also considered the Yellow Line project for approval.
The CDWP approved the renewable energy development sector investment programme of the Punjab government. It endorsed the construction of Deg Outfall hydel power station worth Rs2.6 billion, construction of Chianwali hydel power station worth Rs3.6 billion, construction of Pakpattan hydel power station at Rs1.8 billion, construction of Marala hydel power station at Rs4.62 billion, construction of Okara hydel power station at Rs2.5 billion, capacity building of energy department for undertaking feasibility studies and construction of a hydel power station in Punjab worth Rs388.5 million.
The CDWP also recommended the Lahore Water and Wastewater Management project worth Rs20 billion to Ecnec.
A project related to education called the Reconstruction of Fully Damaged Schools in Bara, Tribal District Khyber under Chinese Assistance worth Rs23.2 billion was approved in the meeting.
A project pertaining to governance titled Punjab Sustainable Development Goals worth Rs400 million was approved by the CDWP.
The CDWP cleared the Peshawar-Torkham Motorway project as part of the Khyber Pass Economic Corridor at a cost of Rs36.7 billion for Ecnec's approval. The project envisages construction of a 47.55km-long, four-lane 7.3-metre-wide, dual carriageway, high-speed and access-controlled motorway from Peshawar to Torkham. The project is part of the Peshawar-Kabul-Dushanbe Motorway.
A project related to science and technology namely the Higher Education Development in Pakistan worth Rs11.6 billion was recommended to Ecnec for its nod.
Seven projects financed by the Asian Development Bank (ADB), three projects of the World Bank, one project of Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and a project supported by the Chinese grant were given the stamp of approval.