Development of Gawadar, Balochistan by the Govt. of Pakistan

On Thursday, Asad Umar, the Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, presided over a progress review meeting on the South Balochistan Development Plan here in Islamabad.

The conference was attended by Secretary Planning Hameed Yaqoob Sheikh, focal person S. Balochistan Development Package, and top officials.

In line with the Honorable Prime Minister of Pakistan’s vision for the development of Pakistan’s underprivileged and less developed areas, concerted efforts resulted in the successful completion of Phase I of the South Balochistan Development Package (SBDP), culminating in the inclusion of approved projects in PSDP 2021-22 and funding allocation. Mr. Asad Umer, Planning Minister, inspected the work on Phase-II of the Southern Balochistan Development Plan and expressed satisfaction with the progress on SBDP projects.

While evaluating the status of new projects to be financed via the Federal PSDP, the Planning Minister noted that 90% of projects have been authorized and included in the Federal PSDP 2021-22 at a cost of Rs 234.315 billion, of which Rs 25.721 billion has been provided in the current fiscal year. Similarly, the budget for CFY is Rs. 29.160 billion for different approved and continuing PSDP projects totaling Rs. 274.689 billion. While reviewing the status of PC-I/IIs and corresponding financials, the Planning Minister noted that Balochistan’s current portfolio in the federal PSDP has a thin distribution of funds and requested the preparation of a priority list of projects to ensure that fast-moving and strategic projects receive adequate funding to be completed on time.

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He also reviews the progress on Priority SBDP projects. The Planning Minister was informed that the NHA has begun procurement for three projects, namely the Hoshab – Awaran – Khuzdar Section of M-8 [Awaran – Naal 168 kilometers] at a cost of Rs 32 billion, the Hoshab-Awaran Section of M-8 (146 kilometers) at a cost of Rs 38 billion, and the Rehabilitation & Upgradation Awaran – Jhaljao Road Additionally, it was told that seven road projects worth Rs. 24.39 billion and seven water dam projects worth Rs. 48.68 billion have been approved/included in PSDP 2021-22, and the award procedure for these projects is being accelerated. To alleviate water shortages, particularly in Gwadar, funding has been authorized for the Shadi-Kaur dam to be connected to the Gwadar pipeline.

Additionally, CDWP has approved the construction of a 1.2 million gallon per day desalination facility at Gwadar Port through a Chinese donation. The Planning Minister ordered that the desalination plant be completed within six to nine months to ease the population out of Gwadar.

While evaluating the status of 15 x projects worth Rs 20.376 billion to be financed via the Non-PSDP model, the Planning Minister noted that 78 percent of the projects have been authorized, while about Rs 10.188 billion worth of projects is in different phases of execution in CFY. To enhance digital connectivity in Gwadar, Chaghi, Noukeshi, and Kech, USF has granted contracts for districts totaling Rs 3200 million; the project is scheduled to be completed by 24 July 2022.

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Additionally, he was told that the contract for High-Speed Broadband Connectivity along the M-8 and National Highways is expected to be granted in the third quarter of 2021. The Minister lauded the Minister’s efforts to expand Telecom and Data coverage, which would benefit more than 0.5 million people in Southern Balochistan.

Development of Gawadar, Balochistan by the Govt. of Pakistan
IMAGE CREDIT: An aerial view of the Gawadar Port. Image taken from lowyinstitute.org

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Minister also reviewed the progress of projects to be funded through the Public-Private Partnership model. The Planning Minister stated that the private sector is the true driver of growth in countries throughout the world, and even today, the Prime Minister inaugurated the Sialkot-Kharian motorway via this model. The Planning Minister was told that supplying LPG to the Southern Balochistan population is a priority project and that the Petroleum Division has produced a draught summary for consideration by the CCoE and distributed it to all stakeholders for their views/comments.

Additionally, the house was told that AEDB is working on off-grid electrification in Southern Balochistan areas and has hired a consultant. The Prime Minister launched the Fishermen Empowerment Program as part of the PM Kamyab Jawan Initiative. A memorandum of understanding has been struck with four banks (Punjab, NBP, Al Falah, and Habib) under which banks would offer loans to qualified candidates.

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