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ECNEC approves Rs38 billionn M-8, other development projects

January 21, 2021: The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) Thursday approved a summary regarding construction of Gwadar-Ratodero Road Project (M-8) sponsored by the Ministry of Communication and executed by National Highway Authority (NHA) at a rationalized cost of Rs 38,026.28 million.

The meeting of ECNEC was chaired by Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh while among others, it was attended by Federal Minister for Planning, Development Reforms and Special Initiatives Asad Umar, Minister for Industries and Production Hammad Azhar, Adviser to the PM on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser to the PM for Institutional Reforms and Austerity Dr Ishrat Hussain and Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtiar.

According to press statement issued by the Finance Ministry, the ECNEC approved the M-8 project in view of its strategic importance as it would facilitate connectivity for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects through improved road linkages.

The ECNEC approved a project worth Rs13.361 billion for provision of Advanced Skills Development through International Scholarship Phase-1 for Master and PhD programs to be executed by the Higher Education Commission (HEC).

The project is part of a Prime Minister Knowledge Economy Task Force Initiative which would enable the youth to access higher education opportunities in well-reputed international universities.

A summary regarding Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme (K-IV) 260 MGD (Phase-1) was presented before ECNEC. The project would provide additional 260 MGD water to Karachi at the total cost of Rs 25,551.77 million.

The expected period of completion of the project is four years. ECNEC approved the project for provision of environment friendly water sanitation and waste management infrastructure / facilities to residents of Karachi.

Similarly, a project titled ‘Solid Waste Emergency and Efficiency Project (SWEEP)’ was presented before the Committee sponsored by the Local government, Housing and Town Planning Department, Government of Sindh with total cost of

Rs 16,800 million including IBRD-World Bank loan of Rs 16,000 million.

The project is designed to mitigate the risk of widespread flooding caused by inadequate solid and liquid waste management during monsoon season and to improve the Solid Waste Management (SWM) infrastructure and service delivery with a view to transform Karachi into an eco-friendly city in the long run.

ECNEC approved the Khyber Pakhtunkwa Human Capital Investment Project (KPHCIP) (Education Component) at the total cost of Rs18910.255 million ($115 million). The Project has been financed by the World Bank/IDA. The Project is envisioned to upgrade basic education infrastructure in the districts of Peshawar, Haripur, Noshera and Swabi of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

The project for the “Construction of 100 Dams in Balochistan- Package IV (23 Dams)” was approved by ECNEC at the total cost of Rs13,512.725 million. Irrigation Department, government of Balochistan would execute the project and it would complete in 03 years.

Realizing the water scarcity in the province of Balochistan, the project is designed to harness flood flows for direct irrigation, ground water recharge and agricultural development through construction of small dams throughout the province.

Phase-II of the “Pak-China Optical Fiber Cable (OFC) Project for Establishment of Cross-Border OFC Network (Khunjerab-Karachi) Along China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Routes” was approved at the total cost of Rs37,915.899 million. The project will provide alternate path for international connectivity through Northern Border of Pakistan with China and would transform Pakistan as a Digital Gateway of regional connectivity.

COVID-19 response and other Natural Calamities Control Program was approved by the ECNEC at the cost of Rs 70 billion as federal share. The project includes National Health upgradation program, National program for Water and Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), COVID-19 interventions for less developed areas etc.

ECNEC also approved the Project for “Dualization and Improvement of Old Bannu Road” at the total cost of Rs 17,230 million from federal PSDP (2020-21).

The project envisages dualization of existing 02-lane old Bannu road measuring 83 km in length from Gaandi Chowk to Sarai Naurang (8km) and Domail to Krapa on N-55 (75km) to 4 lanes with 7.3 m wide carriageway on either side.

Scope of work also includes extension of existing culverts & bridges, construction of retaining walls along with drainage / erosion works and allied facilities. NHA shall execute the project.

APP

SBP launches complaint resolution portal to promote affordable housing

January 21, 2021: The Prime Minister of Pakistan chaired a meeting of National Coordination Committee on Housing, Construction and Development (NCCHCD) in Islamabad today.

Governor State Bank, Dr. Reza Baqir, presented key features of an online complaint resolution mechanism developed by State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to resolve complaints of potential customers under Government’s Markup Subsidy Scheme for affordable housing.

The Prime Minister appreciated the development of a user friendly and comprehensive complaint resolution mechanism to assist common persons who would like to borrow under this Scheme.

The complaint resolution mechanism comprises an IT based portal supported by a comprehensive network of State Bank and commercial bank staff to take care of problems faced by applicants of low cost and affordable housing finance. The IT portal has been made live for registration of complaints. This major initiative will help financially excluded low and middle-income segments who often find it difficult to access the formal financial sector, which is a key goal of the SBP. The system will help in resolving complaints within a predefined timeline with proper escalation mechanism.

The potential customers can already access existing systems and procedures of banks for resolution of their complaints. The complaint resolution mechanism developed by State Bank is a move to improve effectiveness and transparency in complaint redressal process.

In line with Government’s vision of making housing finance affordable, State Bank has, on October 12, 2020, issued Government’s Mark-up Subsidy for Housing Finance to facilitate provision of subsidized finance to low and middle-income individuals. The features of Markup Subsidy Facility can be seen here.

The State Bank is making efforts with the support of banking industry to ensure that the benefits of the markup subsidy scheme reaches targeted customers of banks who currently do not own a house. On the advice of State Bank of Pakistan, the banks have designated around 50% of their branches for provision of financing under this facility. With this, more than 7,700 branches of banks across the country have been designated to process financing of approaching customers under this scheme, while rest of the branches in the network will act as referral points for the designated branches.  

With the launch of portal, customers can now register their concerns by simply putting minimum details on the online service portal accessible here. A short video is also available on this portal to explain how complaints may be lodged and followed up. In case applicants face difficulties in using this portal or need further clarification they are welcome to visit the offices of SBP BSC in 15 major cities where special Help Desks are available to guide and assist, list of offices is available here. In order to facilitate resolution of complaints received under the Markup Subsidy Service Portal, State Bank has created a network of regional focal persons in State Bank BSC regional offices. The banks have also nominated their regional focal persons across the regions in the country where State Bank offices are present.

To ensure the complaint resolution mechanism resolves issues in a timely manner, it is going to be monitored at the highest level within the State Bank. Low cost housing finance customers are encouraged to record their complaints if they experience any difficulty in their loan application with commercial banks.

 

Press Release

 

Govt borrowing eases by Rs 88 billion in a...

January 21, 2021 (MLN): The government of Pakistan has retired Rs.87.53 billion during the week ended January 08, 2021, which brings its total net borrowing for ongoing fiscal year 2021 to Rs.273.14 billion. As of prior week, the government had borrowed a net sum of Rs.360.67 billion.

According to the State Bank of Pakistan's weekly estimates in this regard, the government had retired Rs.18.84 billion net, around the same time last year.

The government sector borrowings are divided into three broad categories based on the purpose of loan which are budgetary support, commodity operations and others.

Split three ways between these broad categories, the cumulative net borrowing for budgetary support was Rs.357.44 billion, while that for other purposes stood at Rs.907.58 million. On the contrary, a net total of Rs.85.2 billion were retired off Commodity Operations.

The two biggest source of financing for budgetary support are the State Bank of Pakistan and the Scheduled Banks. This fiscal year, the central bank has been retired a net sum of Rs.593.14 billion by the government, out of which the Federal Government retired Rs.379.04 billion, the Provincial Government retired Rs.195.92 billion, AJK Government retired Rs.12.63 billion, and the GB Government retired Rs.5.55 billion.

On the other hand, the Scheduled Banks have lent out a net total of Rs.950.58 billion out of which the Federal Government borrowed Rs.963.98 billion while the Provincial Government retired Rs.13.4 billion.

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Private sector retires a net sum of Rs 128.87...

January 21, 2021 (MLN): The non-government sector has retired a net sum of Rs.128.87 billion during the week ended January 08, 2021, which brings the cumulative net borrowing for ongoing fiscal year FY2021 to Rs.189.62 billion. The net borrowing as of prior week was recorded at Rs.318.49 billion.

According to weekly data released by the State Bank of Pakistan, the sector's borrowing has risen by Rs.79.99 billion over the year since the borrowing as of corresponding period of last year was recorded at Rs.109.62 billion.

The non government sector is divided into three broad categories namely, the Private Sector, the Public Sector Enterprises and NBFI. Commercial banks are the main source of financing for the private sector, incuding conventional banks, islamic banks and islamic branches of conventional banks.

This fiscal year, the private sector borrowed a net sum of Rs.215.49 billion, whereas the PSE's have retired Rs.29.55 billion and NBFI has borrowed Rs.3.68 billion.

As we disintegrate the inflows and outflows within the private sector, we see that Conventional Banks lent a cumulative sum of Rs.98.24 billion, Islamic Banks lent Rs.62.38 billion and lastly the Islamic branches of Conventional Banks lent Rs.54.87 billion.

 

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PC approves committees for pre-qualification of potential bidders for...

January 21, 2021: Federal Minister for Privatization Mohammed Mian Soomro chaired the Privatization Commission (PC) Board meeting today in Islamabad.  Federal Secretary Privatization, board members and senior officials of the Ministry attended the meeting.

The Board was briefed about the latest progress made in the transactions of House Building Finance Corporation (HBFCL), Jinnah Convention Center (JCC), and First Women Bank (FWB) which are at advanced stages. The transaction structures of said entities have already been approved by the CCoP/Cabinet.

The Board today approved the committees for the pre-qualification of the potential bidders.  EoIs for these entities are planned to be issued by mid-February 2021. The Financial advisors are presently engaged in soft marketing to attract the investors’ interest. The PC board gave its consent regarding the pre-qualification committees of all three entities.

The Board discussed in detail the decision of the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCoP) that Power Division and Ministry of Privatisation to expedite the privatization/ management contract of DISCOS and submit an implementation plan, which was discussed by the PC Board meeting in detail. Moreover, Power Division has indicated that objectives for the privatization of DISCOs will also be furnished to PC shortly.

The Board was given a presentation regarding the update in the transaction of PSEs which are to be privatized during this year. It was briefed that the consensus of the stakeholders has been reached regarding the take or pay issues in the privatization of National Power Parks Management Co. Ltd (NPPMCL), and the concerned divisions will submit a summary to CCoP accordingly. Moreover, the Board was briefed about the status of SME bank, Services International Hotel (SIH), Jinnah Convention Center (JCC), and Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC). The privatization of these entities will be completed during the current FY.

Moreover, the board was intimated that government-owned properties have the transaction of 23 properties will be completed by the end of next month and payments are being received.

Federal Minister and Chairman Privatisation Board, Mohammed Mian Soomro said that we are focused on achieving the desired targets within time.  He also said that through the privatization of PSEs, the government wants to bring efficiency in various sectors along with revenue generation for debt retirement and poverty alleviation.

The Board approved the minutes of the previous meeting.

Press Release

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