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Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) okays over Rs110bn infrastructure projects

KARACHI: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) on Saturday approved a series of development projects worth over Rs110 billion aimed at bolstering Pakistan’s infrastructure and enhancing resilience against climate change, just days before the government’s constitutional term is about to end.

An official announcement said the committee considered and approved the Punjab Government’s ambitious project, “Developing Resilient Environment and Advancing Municipal Services (Dreams-I),” at a total cost of Rs64.48 billion ($225 million). The project will be funded through an Asian Development Bank (ADB) loan of Rs51.58bn ($180m) and a local component of Rs12.89bn ($45m) contributed by the Punjab government. Dreams-I aims to improve climate resilience and living conditions for approximately 2.9m residents in Rawalpindi and Bahawalpur cities in Punjab.

In a bid to promote sustainable agricultural practices, the Ecnec expanded the scope of the Prime Minister’s National Programme for Solarisation of agriculture tube wells to include the rural areas of Islamabad Capital Territory along with Sindh, Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Balochistan.

The Ecnec meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, approved the revised and updated “Karachi Neighbourhood Improvement project (KNIP)” of Sindh government. The project’s estimated cost amounts to Rs18.8bn ($85.610m), including a World Bank loan of Rs16.7bn ($76.067m). KNIP aims to enhance and upgrade the infrastructure in Karachi South, Korangi, and Malir districts.

With the objective of improving living conditions and strengthening resilience to climate change and natural disasters, the Ecnec approved the Gilgit-Baltistan’s “Rural Development and Climate Resilience Project”. The project is estimated to cost Rs16.26bn, with foreign financing amounting to Rs1.1bn.

The Ecnec also approved the “feasibility/cost estimate for dualization of Sialkot-Eminabad Road up to Kamoki, including a link to Motorway: 65km” project, estimated to cost Rs10.82bn. The project will witness 50 percent cost sharing between the federal and Punjab governments, with the National Highway Authority (NHA) entrusted with its execution.

The Planning Commission presented a proposal for the outsourcing of Islamabad International Airport (IIA) under the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode. The project aims to modernize the existing infrastructure and associated facilities at the airport by attracting private sector participation and implementing the latest international standards to stimulate aviation activities and growth. The Ecnec approved the project proposal, signaling a significant advancement for the aviation sector.

These approvals demonstrate the government’s commitment to strengthening infrastructure, fostering sustainability, and ensuring a resilient future for Pakistan. With these crucial projects set in motion, the nation anticipates progress and growth across various sectors in the coming years.

Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, SAPM on Revenue Tariq Mehmood Pasha, Federal Secretaries and other senior officers from federal ministries and provincial departments also participated in the meeting.