Islamabad: Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani has expressed his annoyance over the slow pace of utilization of the Asian Development Bank’s financing facility of $ 2.9 billion for the 22 projects mainly in the energy and highway sectors.
The Prime Minister stated this during a briefing by the Economic Affairs Division here today at the Prime Minister House, which was attended by Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh, Dr Arbab Alimgir Khan, Minister for Communications, Dr Waqar Masood Khan, Secretary Finance, Mr. Abdul Wajid Rana, Secretary EAD, Mr. Imtiaz Hussain Qazi, Secretary Water and Power, Mr. Amjad Nazir, Secretary Communications, Mr. Muhammad Ali Gerdazi, Chairman NHA and senior officials of the relevant ministries.
The Prime Minister directed the Economic Affairs Division to hold meeting every month instead of three months to remove snags, if any, in undertaking the development projects financed by the Asian Development Bank.
It would be appropriate to address the issues pertaining to the projects prior to negotiating funding with the international agencies instead of other way round, the Prime Minister directed.
The Prime Minister said that the under-utilization of foreign funding would be treated as criminal negligence of the Ministries. He further directed that the monitoring of the projects should be the integral part of it in order to determine the negligence and also to know the pace of the completion of the projects.
The Prime Minister said that it was inexcusable that projects in the energy and infrastructure were delayed for which credit facility was already there. He said that energy and good highways are the basic requirements for generating economic activities to put the country on the trajectory of progress and prosperity. The projects in these vital sectors should be pursued with requisite dedication and commitment, the Prime Minister said.
Speaking on the occasion, Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafiz Sheikh said that rationalization and prioritization of the projects should be the fundamental principle in the development strategy, adding that taking up of too many projects at the same time must be avoided for the same reason. He said that prioritization is the essence of development strategy and should be followed as such.
Secretary Finance pointed out that the ‘commitment charges’ by the government of Pakistan due to delay in utilization of funds had led to net export of capital from the country causing big losses to national exchequer.
Secretary Water and Power informed the meeting that the reasons for slow pace of utilization of funds in energy sector had been addressed and therefore it would pick up substantially in the near future.
Secretary Communications and Chairman National Highway Authority said that the land acquisition was the major hurdle in undertaking the projects for building roads and highways.
However, the land acquisitions and other related problems would be addressed first as directed by the Prime Minister before undertaking the same with the foreign funding, he assured.
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