The executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday approved the up-gradation of Pakistan Railways’ existing Mainline-1 (ML-1) and establishment of the dry port near Havelian at a rationalized cost of $6.806 billion on a cost-sharing basis between the governments of China and Pakistan.
Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh chaired the meeting of the committee at the Cabinet Division.
The execution of the project shall be in 3 packages and in order to avoid commitment charges, the loan for each package will be separately contracted. Under this project, the existing 2,655 KM track will be upgraded. The speed of passenger trains shall increase from 65/110 KM/h to 165 KM/h and line capacity will increase from 34 to 137/171 trains each way per day. Ministry of Railways would constitute a project steering committee for effective supervision and implementation of the project.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Asad Umar shared his views on twitter. He said that the ECNEC approved Pakistan’s largest railway project to date, the ML 1. The project will be completed at a cost of $6.8 billion and will enable not just infrastructural but also administrative improvements in the railway sector. This project is the largest component of CPEC, he added.
ECNEC also approved the Pakistan Single Window (PSW) project, FBR shall be the sponsoring agency for this project. The total cost of the project shall be Rs. 11,074.16 million including Rs. 9,020 million as FEC. The project shall be completed by June 2023 and it is expected to enhance Pakistan’s global ranking in cross border trade-related indicators.
It will also serve as the integration point bridging cargo/logistics systems and other trade-related processes. The project will provide an automated single-entry centralized hub for submission and processing of 90% of the licenses, permits, certificates, and other documents (LPCOs) for external trade.
ECNEC also approved the change in cost-sharing ratios of ADB and its co-financing Partners for “Construction of BRT Red Line Project, Karachi” at the total cost of Rs. 78,384.33 million including FEC of Rs. 66,378.33 million (with cattle-based biomethane as fuel technology). The project was already approved by ECNEC on 29th August 2019.
Ph.D. Scholarship Program under US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor (phase-1) was also approved by ECNEC at a revised cost of Rs. 25,226.274 million including FEC of Rs. 24,303.543 million.
In the revised PC-1, the scope of the project has been curtailed to 1000 scholarships (from 1500 scholarships) mainly due to appreciation of the US dollar against Pak-rupee and inclusion of tuition fee/research grant.