ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the Cabinet’s Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) ‘endorsed’ the Rs739 billion Karachi Transformation Plan (KTP) and permitted the revision of the Master Plan for five Port Qasim terminals. In theory, the committee also approved Wapda’s launch of a $500 million foreign bond.
The ECC meeting, chaired by Finance Minister Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, also directed the shelving of three air-mix LPG plants in Chitral and permitted Covid-19 patients to import duty-free and tax-free oxygen tanks.
According to knowledgeable sources, the majority of ECC participants were bewildered by the thorough introduction of the KTP by the planning ministry and observed that the matter was not applicable to the platform under the relevant rules and procedures. Therefore,’ the forum extensively debated the proposal and, in theory, approved the path to seek consent from all appropriate quarters before submission to the Cabinet.’
In relation to different components of KTP, Dr Shaikh instructed to pursue all codal formalities.
It was suggested by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives that the Supreme Court of Pakistan should seek the use of the Bahria Town penalty proceeds for KTP projects adopted by the federal government. The topic was specifically linked to the cabinet. It is estimated that Bahria Town has deposited around Rs58bn at the apex court.
On the other hand, the Ministry of Finance suggested that the Planning Commission also develop an alternative plan in the event of the non-availability of compensation for Bahria Town and advocated the diversion of funds from the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) through technical supplementary grants or PPP.
The Planning Division announced that over the next three years, the federal government had agreed to pursuing Rs739bn worth of KTP ventures across its agencies and wanted to use three financing avenues: PSDP, including international funding, PPP and Supreme Court funds.
The key schemes under the KTP include the Wapda Greater Karachi Water Supply Project (K-IV), the relocation of displaced persons in flats to ensure the clearing of nullahs and waterways, the Green Line BRT, the Karachi Circular Railway and the Karachi Port to Pipri railway freight corridor.
The ECC approved in principle, in consultation with the Finance Division and the State Bank of Pakistan, the issuance of the $500 m Eurobond debut by Wapda to address the foreign funding needs of the Diamer-Basha and Mohmand dams and to hammer out modalities.
The ECC approved modifications to the Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Master Plan for the establishment of five terminals, including two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals, two multipurpose cargo terminals and one integrated container terminal on the basis of building, service and transfer (BOT) under Sections 10 and 11 of the 1973 PQA Act.
It was announced that in 1975, with the assistance of Swan Wooster Engineering Canada, the PQA Master Plan was originally prepared by state-owned Nespak for a period up to 2000. The PQA is currently in the process of hiring a consultant for the review of the master plan in order to implement improvements made to the master plan since 2001 and for strategic planning. The companies were short-listed and were submitted to the PQA board’s infrastructure board for consultant placement.
As per modern design and practise, the PQA “intends to establish two LNG terminals, two multipurpose cargo terminals and one integrated container terminal on a BOT basis.”
The ECC agreed that Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited should abandon the three air-mix LPG ventures, namely Drosh, Ayun and Chitral City, and dispose of minimally damaged land and equipment.
A summary of the duty-free and tax-free import of cryogenic oxygen tanks was also authorised by the ECC for better handling of the Covid-19 situation. It was directed to ensure the continuous delivery of oxygen gas at affordable prices.
The meeting also accepted a reform in the Pakistan Credit Guarantee Corporation (PCGCshareholding )’s structure under which GOP’s shareholding in the company would be reduced from the current 70pc to 49%.