Communications ministry: Austerity generates Rs 3.72 billion revenue in 100 days

Karachi – The Ministry of Communications and its attached departments managed to generate Rs 3.72 billion additional revenue on account of better governance, austerity and accountability during the last 100 days. This was claimed by Minister of State for Communications Murad Saeed while sharing achievements of the ministry under the Prime Minister's 100-day agenda here at a press conference Tuesday.

The minister also announced to complete all projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework in time. Saeed claimed that they have successfully implemented 100 days plan in Ministry of Communications and its allied departments and achieved targets before the stipulated time period according to the vision of the PM. He vowed that Ministry of Communications and its employees will continue this journey of success with dedication and hard work.

He said that they gained Rs 1,412.48 million in revenue generation due to good governance, Rs 1,596 million from campaign against encroachments, Rs 208.85 million from auction of 202 vehicles, Rs 36.11 million from reduction in expenditures and Rs 468.29 million recovered after special audit of five projects.

The minister said that NHA in order to achieve self-sustainability has launched a programme to maximise its revenue through improved governance and innovative initiatives. Resultantly, the NHA collected Rs 1.24 billion more revenue compared with the corresponding period of the last year. Overall, the NHA successfully generated Rs 3.08 billion during the first 100 days of the incumbent government.

The Authority has gained back 354 kanals of land, worth Rs 1,596 million, from the encroachers. The anti-encroachment drive was carried out on 2,274 locations countrywide.

In order to implement the Prime Minister's austerity drive, the NHA decided to auction 219 vehicles at a reserved price of Rs 145.37 million, which included 42 luxury vehicles along with 177 others. This resulted in saving of Rs 31.57 million on account of oil and maintenance charges. A total of 202 vehicles were auctioned for an amount of Rs 208.85 million. Bids for 17 vehicles were not received during auction proceedings and they will be reconsidered in the next phase of auction.

As per vision of the Prime Minister vis-à-vis 100 days programme, the NHA is intending to establish a resort/rest area on its official building having a covered area of 38,167 sq ft constructed over 7 kanals of land in Naran. The existing building is situated on the bank of River Kunar with stunning scenic view of gushing water. Nine firms participated in the process, whereas financial proposal of 5 firms were received. The resort will commence operation during the upcoming summer season.

He further said that NHA has launched mobile application (NHA-app) for public access to all the relevant record and details of projects. All the information to road users is available through this application. The mobile application is a step towards implementation of right to information in true letter and spirit, which would help the NHA ensure transparency in the execution of its projects. The minister said the application was his brainchild, which has been accomplished due to team work of the department's officials.

In order to bring transparency, efficiency, cost-saving and good governance, the NHA has initiated the process to implement e-procurement in all its procurements, especially the mega road infrastructure projects. E-procurement is a web based process wherein the complete tendering process from advertising to receiving and submitting tender-related information are done online till award of the contract.

As per the PM's vision of accountability, the ministry decided to conduct audit of six delayed mega construction projects of NHA, thus resulting in time and cost overrun. This will facilitate NHA in terms of better contract management in future works. He said the government's vision is to implement China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project and establish links of ports with other parts of the country through construction of missing leg of North-South fast track corridor. As a result of in-depth study of the situation, the government finalised its strategy to pursue the targets including construction of missing link of North-South fast track corridor, ensuring the financial sustainability of road infrastructure of the country and optimisation of revenue generation through commercial use of Right of Way of the road network.

He said that the government realises that achieving these targets is only possible with the support of the private sector investment, as Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocations need to be supplemented by off-budget financing through public private partnership (PPP).

The NHA through its efforts in the last 100 days identified following mega projects, worth Rs 350 billion, to implement through PPP:

Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway (M-6): Construction of new 300km 6-lane motorway with estimated cost Rs 173 billion. Detailed design and commercial feasibility has already been initiated. Procurement will be initiated upon completion of the studies. Karachi Northern Bypass (M-10): Conversion of existing 39km 2-lane highway into dualised highway with estimated cost Rs 8 billion. Project is in preparation stage and procurement of consultant for detailed design and commercial feasibility is to be initiated.

Sialkot-Kharian Motorway: Construction of new 70km 6-lane motorway with estimated cost of Rs 40 billion. Detailed design and commercial feasibility are to be completed by January 2019. Upon completion of study, procurement shall immediately be initiated.

Kharian-Rawalpindi Motorway: Construction of new 115km 6-lane motorway with estimated cost Rs 75 billion. Procurement of consultant for detailed design and commercial feasibility have already been initiated. Upon completion of study, procurement shall immediately be initiated.

Chakdara-Mingora section of Swat Motorway: The KPK government is in the process of finalising alignment, design and feasibility of the project. Subsequently, the federal and KPK governments shall finalise the financing mode.

He further said that as per Imran Khan's initiative of Green Pakistan, the NHA has launched a campaign through which different types of trees have been planted along five mega projects of NHA as well as on the existing NHA road network. He said he himself monitored the plantation drive by visiting different sites. The salient features of plantation drive are as under:

Total targeted plantation was 187,000 saplings during 100 days, however, due to weather constraint; the plantation drive was stopped by 20th October 2018 and 76,105 saplings were planted.

As per the PM's vision of "Clean & Green Pakistan" initiative, the NHA has embarked on a campaign for cleaning the road network by removing wild growing grass, bushes and shrubs, removal of garbage and debris from Right of Way of NHA roads. Under the initiative, National Highway Authority has completed cleanliness of 4,211km road network.

He further said that Geographic Information Systems (GIS) represent a powerful new means to efficiently manage and integrate the numerous types of information necessary for the planning, design, construction, analysis, operation, maintenance, asset management and revenue maximisation. The minister said that Rs 46 million have been recovered after special audit of five projects and action would be taken against nine officials found involved. He further said that 220 jobs have been created while no-objection certificate (NoC) for additional 1,000 jobs would be sought.

"Monitoring Desk"

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