NHA to pay Chinese contractors working on Indus Highway project in foreign currency

Indus Highway project

The National Highway Authority (NHA) has sought changes in the mode of procurement for the Rs. 44.7 billion Indus Highway (N-55) additional carriageway project, which was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) a couple of years ago. 

Talking to the media, an NHA official said the authority has requested that a waiver may be given and a revision may be done in the authorization which should state that “all procurement under the instant project will be in Pak rupees as well as in US dollars as per Asian Development Bank (ADB) guidelines”. 

Last month, PC-I of Indus Highway (N-55) additional carriageway project Shikarpur-Rajanpur Section having a length of 221.95 Km has already been approved by ECNEC at an estimated cost of Rs. 44,703.89 million.

Read more: Rs 22 billion will be spent on construction of 50 highways, flyovers in Multan

All procurement under the current project will be in Pakistani rupees, with a total cost of Rs. 40,233.50 million (US$ 241.27 million) financed by an ADB loan under Multi Tranche Financing Facilities (MFF) and the government of Pakistan covering the remaining Rs. 4,470.390 million. 

Moreover, as per ADB guidelines, the provision exists however, according to the Authorization issued on 21st October 2020, it is revealed that: “The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) considered the summary dated 04th September 2020 submitted by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives regarding Indus Highway (N55) Additional Carriageway Project (Shikarpur – Rajanpur Section) (Length 221.95 Km) and approved the rationalized cost of Rs. 44,703.89 million.” 

The Planning Division, on the other hand, has raised objections to the NHA demand, saying that the NHA stance has been examined and that the position paper submitted by NHA for CDWP is lacking in necessary data including the physical and financial progress/status of the Indus Highway project. The background lacks information on when the loan was signed, the status of the work award, the contract cost, and financing modalities. 

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