Senate panel hearing: Highway authority speaks of financial crunch

Senate panel directs ministry of finance to release funds to NHA by August 18.


Express August 10, 2011

ISLAMABAD:


The Senate standing committee on communication met under the chairmanship of Senator Mir Wali Muhammad Badini on Tuesday and discussed various issues concerning National Highway Authority (NHA).


Muhammad Ali Gardezi, chairman NHA, told the committee that his department is facing financial crunch and an amount of Rs3.5 billion is pending with the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) on account of revenue collected by toll plazas on national highways and motorways.

He presented a comprehensive report of toll plazas operative all over the country and stated that the contract of 28 toll plazas was awarded to FWO, 14 to NLC and 43 to private parties during the financial year 2010-11. He added that toll plazas of M-1, M-2 and M-3 are under the control of FWO which collect the major chunk of toll revenue.

Senator Zahid Khan observed that toll plazas which generate more revenue seem to have been awarded to the FWO without tendering and stressed that all contracts should be awarded following proper regulations.

Gardezi informed the committee that an amount of Rs13 billion payable to contractors was pending against NHA and the ministry of finance was not releasing the grant. A representative from the ministry of finance said that Rs2.3 billion as first installment of the allocated grant has already been released and would be delivered within two to three days. The committee directed the ministry to release the second installment by August 18.

Discussing the new projects of NHA for the fiscal year 2011-12 the NHA chairman briefed the committee that, the department proposed 7 new projects in Punjab, 3 in Sindh and 2 in Balochistan. Senator Zahid Khan expressed serious concerns over non-inclusion of any new project in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) during the current year and asked NHA chairman to inform the committee about reasons for not proposing any new project for KP.

The meeting was attended by senators Syed Nayyer Hussain Bokhari, Syed Faisal Raza Abidi, Muhammad Ismail Buledi, Lt Gen (retired) Javed Ashraf Qazi, Secretary Communication Anwar A Khan, Secretary Planning Commission, Javed Mahmood and senior officials from ministry of finance. WITH ADDITIONAL INPUT FROM APP

Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2011.

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