ISLAMABAD: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) on Wednesday approved Rs 40 billion Special Development Initiatives for Backward/Poor Districts project on a 50:50 basis between the federal and provincial governments.

The project was granted approval at an ECNEC meeting chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar here, a Finance Ministry news release said.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Communications Asad Mehmood, Federal Minister for Commerce Syed Naveed Qamar, SAPM on Finance Tariq Bajwa, secretaries and other senior officers from federal and provincial ministries and departments attended the meeting, while Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Finance Minister Taimur Saleem Khan Jhagra and Punjab Finance Minister Mohammad Mohsin Leghari participated through video link.

The Special Development Initiatives project aims to support interventions to bring noticeable change in the social and economic fabric of the backward and poor districts.

The ECNEC also approved the National Development Internship Programme. The program is in line with the prime minister’s vision to mainstream the youth and involve them in national development. It aims to enhance the capacity of young Pakistanis in their relevant educational areas and enhance their practical and technical skills and provide an opportunity to introduce fresh ideas in the country’s development sector.

The expenditure of the program will be met from the development projects being implemented under the Public Service Development Programme (PSDP).

The ECNEC considered the Planning Commission’s summary regarding the Indus Highway (N-55) Additional Carriage Project and allowed 15% of procurement for one of its four components in US dollars as per the Asian Development Bak’s (ADB) guidelines. The project was already approved by the ECNEC on October 1, 2022, at a cost of Rs 44,703.89 million with the ADB share of Rs 40,233.50 million (US$ 241.27 million).

It also approved the Construction of the Northern Section of the Ring Road (Missing Link) from Warsak Road to Nasir Bagh Road project at the rationalized/reduced cost of Rs 17,139.007 million without any FEC, fully funded by the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government. The project envisages the construction of the 6-lane northern section of the Peshawar Ring Road from Warsak Road to Nasir Bagh Road with a total length of 7.8 kilometers. There will be a 2-lane service road on each side of the Ring Road.

The ECNEC gave its approval for the “Construction of Gravity Flow Water Supply Scheme Mansehra” project at a cost of Rs 18,583.41 million, to be executed by the KP government. The project aims at the provision of a gravity-flow potable water supply system for Mansehra city to fulfill the present and future needs up to 2040.

The project on its completion will provide the required potable water supply facilities to the population of 201,249 persons for the designed period.

The Committee approved PC-1 of the Post-Flood 2022 Reconstruction Plan: Resilience, Enhancement and Livelihood Diversification in Balochistan project at a total cost of Rs 88,000 million (US$ 400 million) funded by the World Bank. The Federal Government and the Government of Balochistan through the Federal PMU and Project Implementation Unit will execute the project to support, finance,, and incentivize the post-flood reconstruction, resilience enhancement, and livelihood diversification initiatives with a focus on flood-ravaged and resource-constrained provinces.

The ECNEC approved Overseas Scholarship for MS/M. Phil led to Ph.D. in selected fields (Phase-III) at a cost of Rs 22,214.578 million with FEC Rs 21,402.142 million to give chances to young Pakistani scholars to pursue higher education at some of the world’s leading universities.

It also approved the Prime Minister’s Youth Laptop Scheme-HEC(Phase-III) at a cost of Rs 10,827.28 million in order to provide an opportunity to young and talented students studying in public sector higher education institutes across the country including the Azad Jammu & Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan. Under the envisaged phase-III project, 100,000 laptops will be distributed among meritorious students in two years.

The ECNEC approved a project regarding the provision of higher education opportunities for students of Balochistan & erstwhile FATA ( Phase-III) at a cost of Rs 8,663.350 million with the aim to provide equal education opportunities to the talented students of the disadvantaged areas to bring them to par with the developed and developing areas of the country creating a core of talented and qualified manpower.

The Committee also approved the Sindh Human Capital Investment: 1000 days-Integrated Health and Population program at a total cost of Rs 61,600 million, including foreign funds of Rs 55,000.058 million by the World Bank to improve utilization and quality of reproductive, maternal, neonatal, child and adolescent health and nutrition services, and women economic empowerment through skill development and micro-financing to a target population of 9.7 million in selected districts of Sindh province.

The ECNEC also approved the Flood Response Emergency Housing Project at the rationalized cost of Rs 160,000 million, including a World Bank loan of US$ 500 million to support the flood-affected people in all districts of Sindh in the climate-resilient reconstruction & repairs of their houses and help them overcome the misery and trouble inflicted upon them during the recent rain disaster.


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