ECNEC approves $6.8 bln Pakistan Railways ML-1 project

ISLAMABAD, Aug 05 (APP):The Executive committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) here Wednesday approved the project of Pakistan Railways for upgradation existing Mainline-1 (ML-1) and establishment of dry port near Havelian.

The project was approved at the rationalized cost of US$ 6,806.783 million, on cost sharing basis between the governments of China and Pakistan, according to press statement issued by the Finance Ministry.

The ECNEC meeting was chaired by the Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh at the Cabinet Division, it added.

The execution of the project would be done in 3 packages and in order to avoid commitment charges, the loan amount for each package will be separately contracted.

Under the project, the existing 2,655 kilometer track would be upgraded while the speed of passenger trains would increase from 65/110 kilometers per hour to 165 kilometers per hour and the line capacity would 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, the statement added.

The committee also approved the Pakistan Single Window (PSW) project. The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) would be the sponsoring agency for this project.

The total cost of the project has been estimated at Rs.11,074.16 million including Rs.9,020 million as foreign exchange component (FEC).

The project would be completed by June 2023 and it is expected to enhance Pakistan’s global ranking in cross border trade related indicators.

It would also serve as the integration point bridging cargo/logistics systems and other trade related processes.

The project would 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 Asian Deelopment Bank (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, the statement added.

Ph.D. Scholarship Program under US-Pakistan Knowledge Corridor (phase-1) was also approved by ECNEC at the 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 dollar rate against Pak-rupee and inclusion of tuition fee/ research grant.

Ahsan Baig

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