PTI government revises up Tarbela project cost to Rs122.9b

The Express Tribune/07-01-2020

ISLAMABAD: The government approved six projects costing Rs216.4 billion, including four schemes that were being executed but their construction cost had jumped significantly due to ill-planning, scarcity of funds and flawed implementation strategies. Headed by Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved the schemes put forth by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.Planning Minister Asad Umar also attended his first Ecnec meeting. Ecnec approved an increase in the cost of Tarbela 4th Extension hydroelectric power project to Rs122.9 billion, up Rs40.5 billion or nearly 50% within four years of the project’s execution. The Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) is riddled with schemes that are facing years of delay. The factors contributing to the delay remain unaddressed, including a lack of fiscal resources. Like its predecessor, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government is approving new projects in meetings of the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) too frequently, which has significantly increased the number of total outstanding approved projects. The Tarbela 4th Extension project is aimed at increasingthe project’s power generation capacity from 3,478 megawatts to 4,888MW by installing three units of 470MW each on the existing irrigation tunnel four. The World Bank is providing financing for the project.