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PRESIDENT orders smooth funding for large projects

ISLAMABAD: President General Pervez Musharraf on Wednesday directed the Finance Ministry to ensure the timely release of funds for the completion of 18 mega projects in various sectors of the economy.

A high-ranking official, who attended the meeting in which President General Pervez Musharraf was briefed on 18 mega projects worth Rs 260 billion under PSDP (Public Sector development Programme) told Daily Times that the president told the Finance Ministry that no inordinate delays in releasing funds for the mega project would be tolerated as these projects should be completed on time at any cost.

Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz, Minister for Communication Babur Ghauri, Minister for Water and Power Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao, Minister for Petroleum Chaudhry Nouraiz Shakoor, Minister for Information Technology Awais Ahmed Khan Leghari, Governor Balochistan Awais Ahmed Ghani and Chief Minister Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim were also present on the occasion.

The official said that the president wants that the laying of the infrastructure required for the Thar coal project be completed by December 2004 and that he would inaugurate the project in January 2005. He was told that Rs 1 billion had been allocated for the project so far, out of which 200 million rupees were released last year, while Rs 350 million had been sanctioned under PSDP 2004-05 and the remaining Rs 450 million would be released soon.

Deputy Chairman Planning Commission briefed the president about 18 major projects, including Lyari Expressway, Karachi Northern Bypass, Mekran Coastal Highway, Gwadar-Khuzdar-Rato Dero Road, Gwadar Deep Seaport, Karachi Bulk Water Supply, Quetta Water Supply and Environmental Improvement, Thar Coal, Mangla Dam Raising, Mirani Dam, Gomal Zam Dam, Greater Thal Canal, Kachhi Canal, Rainee Canal, Balochistan Effluent Disposal RBOD-2 and Extension of RBOD from Sehwan to sea.

“The president was told that the Rs15 billion Mekran Coastal Highway will be completed early next year, four months ahead of schedule while the Gwadar Deep seaport will be ready by middle of next year,” the official said. “The port will also cost Rs 15 billion.” President Musharraf while talking to newsmen after the meeting said that the government’s economic policies had already started yielding results in agricultural, industrial and IT sectors. In this context, he referred to the unparalleled increase in call centres across the country.

“There are about one hundred and sixty six thousand call centres operating in the country, providing employment to 600,000 people during the last two years.”

He added that two new mobile companies would start their operations with investments of billions of dollars, offering thousands of job opportunities.

He pointed out that the coastal highway in Balochistan had created opportunities for the local fishermen, who would be able to sell their catch for eight to ten times higher than the price they used to get in the not-too distant past.

Earlier, in his remarks during the presentation, the president underlined that work on micro-projects carried out by local government and elected representatives should also take place for across-the-board development.

“Our objective and focus is clear, which is the economic well-being of the nation. Expediting the work on the mega development ventures should be our aim, as it is essential for the nation”.

Source: Daily Times

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