Government Diverts Rs70.5 Billion to Hydroelectric Projects


ISLAMABAD: On Thursday, the government approved a major reallocation of funds, diverting Rs70.5 billion from the discretionary budgets of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and parliamentarians towards three key hydroelectric power projects. This decision was made by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet, which also approved a supplementary budget of Rs89 billion.

A significant portion of this budget, Rs70.5 billion, will finance the construction of the Mohmand Dam, Dasu Hydropower Project, and Tarbela 5th Extension Project. These funds were redirected from various initiatives, including Rs28.8 billion from parliamentarians’ schemes, Rs30 billion from the PM’s agricultural tube wells solarisation package, Rs4.8 billion from the PM’s Initiative for Green Revolution, Rs2 billion from the PM’s Sports Initiative, and Rs4.8 billion from the PM’s Initiative for Women Empowerment.

In addition to these reallocations, the ECC approved a $2.6 million compensation package for five Chinese nationals killed in a terrorist attack while working on the Dasu hydropower project. Each family will receive $516,000, while the family of a Pakistani victim will receive Rs2.5 million.

The ECC also approved the diversion of $8 million from the Roosevelt Hotel employees’ pension fund to cover the hotel’s operational expenses, despite objections from the privatisation ministry. Additionally, the committee approved amendments to the policy for equity investment abroad to facilitate IT exports, allowing IT companies to invest abroad from their Exporters Special Foreign Currency Accounts (ESFCAs) and Special Foreign Currency Accounts (SFCAs).

Other approvals included Rs1.1 billion to clear liabilities of the defunct Earthquake Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Authority (ERRA), Rs2.2 billion for gas supply to the closed Pakistan Steel Mills, and Rs12.1 billion for the children vaccination programme.

Story by Shahbaz Rana

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