Govt gives exemption to IDAP

Bypasses ministry to allow Punjab to undertake four development projects


Zafar Bhutta May 13, 2021
The IDAP would follow federal PPRA Rules, 2004 in execution of the projects assigned by the ministry. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD:

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government has given a one-time special exemption to Infrastructure Development Authority of Punjab (IDAP) to undertake four fast track federal development projects bypassing the Ministry of Housing and Works.

Pakistan Public Works Department (PPWD) under the housing ministry is the only government agency to undertake all construction projects of the federal government. However, the PTI government has involved the IDAP in execution of four development projects bypassing Pak PWD.

Sources told The Express Tribune that the cabinet has given its approval in a recent meeting.

During the meeting, the Ministry of Housing & Works had stated, “In terms of entry 14(11) schedule-II of Rules of Business, 1973, Pak PWD is the only government agency to undertake all the construction projects of the federal government. The same position has been reiterated by the Prime Minister’s Office in various cases.”

In view of the above, it was proposed that the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination may be allowed one-time special exemption to undertake four health infrastructure development projects till their completion on turn-key basis through IDAP instead of Pak PWD.

The National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division apprised the cabinet that the ministry and its entities are currently executing a large number of health sector PSDP projects, involving infrastructure development, civil, electrical and mechanical works.

Under entry 14(11) Schedule II of Rules of Business, 1973, Pak PWD is the only government agency which is authorised to undertake all the construction projects of the federal government.

The construction projects of the health sector were highly sensitive, technical and need special expertise, which Pak PWD lacked invariably. This caused delay in implementation of the projects, which resulted in time and cost overruns.

The Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination wanted to undertake some health infrastructure projects through a specialised executing agency such as Infrastructure Development Authority of Punjab (IDAP).

The IDAP had a very impressive track record of execution and completion of projects on turn-key basis.

The prime minister, in a meeting held on October 21, 2020, was pleased to approve construction of federal hospitals by IDAP as per law.

Accordingly, the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination took up the case with Ministry of Housing and Works regarding availing services of IDAP and the Ministry of Housing and Works, on December 15, 2020, responded that under the Rules of Business, 1973, Pak PWD is the only government agency to undertake all the construction projects of the federal government.

They had further advised to take up the matter with the Prime Minister’s Office.

Article 146(1) of the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan states that notwithstanding anything contained in the constitution, the federal government may, with the consent of the government of a province, entrust either conditionally or unconditionally to that government, or to its officers’ functions in relation to any matter to which the executive authority of the federation extends.

Accordingly, the health ministry, through a letter of the secretary, sought consent of the government of Punjab for execution of some development projects on fast track basis through IDAP.

The IDAP in its letter on February 21, 2021 had informed that the Punjab cabinet in its 41st meeting held on February 15, 2021, approved that “The cabinet considered and approved the undertaking of projects by Infrastructure Development Authority of the Punjab for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination along with directions to clearly highlight that infrastructure development work had been executed through government of the Punjab.”

On a summary moved by the health ministry on February 24, 2021, the Prime Minister’s Office on April 16, 2021, desired that the ministry shall place the proposal, duly incorporating the views of ministries of planning, development and special initiatives, and housing and works in the summary for the cabinet, for orders of the federal cabinet in terms of article 146(1) of the constitution.

In pursuance of these directions of the Prime Minister’s Office, the comments of both the ministries had been incorporated in the summary for the cabinet.

The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives had endorsed the proposal of the summary for one time relaxation by the prime minister in terms of Rule 57 of Rules of Business 1973.

In view of this, it was proposed that the health ministry may be allowed one-time special exemption to undertake four health infrastructure development projects till their completion on turn-key basis through IDAP instead of Pak PWD.

The IDAP would follow federal PPRA Rules, 2004 in execution of the projects assigned by the ministry.

The cabinet considered the summary titled ‘Special Exemption for Execution of Four Fast Track Development Projects Involving Construction Work through Infrastructure Development Authority of Punjab (IDAP)’ dated April 20, 2021, submitted by the National Health Services, Regulations and Coordination Division, and approved the proposal.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 13th, 2021.

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