Alternative financial sources be explored, says Zardari

KARACHI: President Asif Ali Zardari on Thursday directed that alternative sources of financial arrangements should be explored for finalising projects that have been delayed or slowed down due to financial constraints.The presidential spokesman, Farhatullah Babar in a meeting at the Bilawal House, which was presided over by Zardari, briefed the media about development projects and schemes in Sindh.Babar said the president had directed that infrastructure projects, especially in the communications and highways sectors, should be completed urgently.He said that the N-9 Karachi-Hyderabad highway project had been delayed due to the shortage of funds. The president said that a committee should be formed to examine the issues relating to the management and raising of funds from the private sector for the completion of the project.

A large number of projects and schemes were reviewed, including the Karachi Harbour Crossing, Karachi Sewerage Plan, the PSDP schemes that have been stalled, rebuilding of about 175,000 houses damaged by floods, roads reconstruction, medium-sized dams in Sindh and Balochistan and the Larkana Development Package, Babar said.Zardari advised a committee consisting of National Highway Authority (NHA) chairman, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Nadeemul Haque, Finance Secretary Waqar Masood and State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) Governor Shahid Kardar be formed to float expressions of interest (EOI) for the N-9 project on build, operate and transfer (BOT) basis within a month. The funds for these projects should only be raised in Pakistan through the stock exchanges, Babar quoted the president as saying.Zardari called for seeking assistance from China, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates for the reconstruction of around 175,000 flood-damaged houses in Sindh alone, as during his talks with leaders of these countries they had offered to rebuild the flood damaged houses in the affected areas, he said.The president sought a report within one week on the steps taken to seek support from the countries for the rebuilding of the damaged houses, Babar added.

Zardari directed the formation of a reconstruction body headed by the Sindh chief minister to oversee the project of reconstruction of damaged houses, he said.Zardari also issued directives to arrange funds under the public-private partnership to complete the sewerage treatment plant and the Karachi Sewerage Plan as early as possible to not only treat wastewater, but also to produce fertiliser and gas from it.According to Sindh Chief Minister’s Advisor on Information Sharmila Farooqi, who briefed the media after the meetings, the president underlined the need for raising funds from alternative sources, including the private sector, the stock market, donors and NGOs. This will create a sense of ownership for these projects, besides making available sufficient funds.She said that the meeting was told that Karachi Port Trust (KPT) treatment plant would be completed within the next two years.During the briefing on flood devastation, the president was told that according to a survey by the World Bank, 880,000 houses had been damaged in Sindh due to the floods, however, the figure stands at one million houses in a survey conducted by the Sindh government.ardari said that work on the projects, including the Winder and Darawat dams, should begin at the earliest so that water is stored and conserved to meet growing demand – Dailytimes