ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Thursday approved 33 development projects worth over Rs 600 billion with a foreign exchange component of Rs 130 billion.The ECNEC meeting, which was chaired by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, approved the projects for the following sectors: transport and communications, irrigation, food and agriculture, education and health, energy, information technology and cities’ development.Five energy projects worth Rs 81.5 billion were approved, which included Power Distribution Enhancement Investment Programme, Phase-II, National Compact Florescent Lamps and Combined Cycle Power Plant of 320MW, which will be gifted by the UAE. These projects would help enhance the existing capacity in the system through conservation and efficient distribution efforts.
The meeting also approved four transport and communication projects costing Rs 96.2 billion, comprising procurement of 150 diesel electric locomotives, widening and construction of Kohlu-Sibbi Road, improvement and widening of Jaglot-Skardu Road and Extension of Motorway 4 from Khanewal to Multan.Three agricultural projects were also approved by the ECNEC, which include Punjab Economic Opportunities Programme, Pak-China National Project for Controlled Atmosphere and Advanced Ventilated Cold Storage and National Project for Enhancing Existing Capacity of Grain Storage. These projects would help reduce poverty in rural areas and enhance grain storage capacity.The finance minister asked the Planning Commission to present a detailed plan in the next ECNEC meeting with a rationalised portfolio reflecting balanced regional growth and focus on completion of projects. The participants of the meeting included federal ministers, Planning Commission deputy chairman, State Bank of Pakistan governor, special assistants to prime minister on water and social sector. Representatives from Gilgit-Baltistan, AJK also attended the meeting – Dailytimes