The responsibility for countrywide planning, construction, operation and maintenance of motorways, national highways, strategic roads, bridges and tunnels is assigned to National Highway Authority (NHA), Ministry of Communications.
Presently total length of road network of the country is about 264000 Kms.
While total length of 51 motorways and national highways under jurisdiction of NHA is 13572 Kms which include 11255 kms-38 national highways, 2055 kms-10 motorways, and 262 kms-3 strategic roads.
As per vision of the Prime Minister of Pakistan Mr. Imran Khan, Ministry of Communications, National Highway Authority has successfully started work for construction of motorways and national highways under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, thus providing opportunity to Private Sector to invest in road building schemes of the Public Sector.
The Federal Government has formulated a comprehensive policy to undertake projects on the PPP mode.
To this effect, an Act has also been approved for effective implementation of such projects.
Establishment of Public Private Partnership Authority also expresses Government’s interest to this approach. A Public Private Partnership Cell is also actively functional at NHA head office.
The Cell has made practical advancement for Private Sector participation in National Highways, Motorway, Tunnels and bridges projects in the country.
NHA considers that the technical, managerial and financial resources of the Private Sector can make a useful addition to its own efforts.
After carefully evaluating a wide range of alternatives, NHA has decided to encourage the private sector to participate in a number of significant projects of national highways and motorway as well as a limited number of tunnel and bridge projects with the view to support and sustain Pakistan’s rapid rate of economic growth.
This initiative will not only prepare the ground to promote construction industry but will help at large to reduce financial load on national ex-chequer.
In the matter, Federal Minister for Communications and Postal Services Mr. Murad Saeed has emphasized upon the executive officers, construction experts and engineers to play operative role to further accelerate the construction process for early realization of projects under Public Private Partnership mode, so that more roads could be built without financial support from national exchequer.
Completion of motorways and national highways projects will enable people to avail better transportation facility thus paving the way for uplift of agricultural, industrial and trade activity besides giving impetus for development to construction sector.
Undoubtedly, the PPP based schemes are repository to national development ultimately putting country on the track towards a new Pakistan.
The Government of Pakistan’s vision is to substantially increase the road density till 2030 and achieving this mammoth development goal is only possible with the support of private sector.
It seems apt to recall that countrywide motorways and national highways projects are being undertaking under gigantic China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) programne. NHA is committed to put country on the track towards socio-economic development.
Public Private Partnership (PPP) has been prevalent nowadays in developing as well as developed nations of the world. Creation of private sector interest in infrastructure projects for better service delivery is the tool being used successfully.
Insufficient fiscal budget, Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) allocations need to be supplemented by off budget financing through Public Private Partnership.
This will help fulfill needs of national and regional trade in the upcoming years.
The PPP is becoming an essential component of NHA’s development strategy.
The objectives set by NHA for the PPP include, interalia, road infrastructure development, off budget financing, efficiency, investment, sustainability and revenue generation.
During the last a few years, NHA remained successful in providing conducive atmosphere for private sector investment in road building schemes and todate has completed four projects of worth around Pak Rupee 135 billion under the PPP on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis.
Construction of 2 Km long new flyover (Habibabad bridge) located on N-5 is one of the projects completed on PPP at cost of Rs. 0.831 billion.
Likewise overlay and modernization of 357 km Lahore-Islamabad motorway has also been realized costing more than Rs. 46 billion.
Further, conversion of 4-Lane highway into six lane Karachi-Hyderabad motorway was also taken on PPP mode.
This 136 km long motorway was completed at cost of Rs. 44.251 billion. Another success of NHA is the completion of 89 km long Lahore-Sialkot motorway. This 4 Lane motorway is built with 6 lane structures at cost of Rs. 43.847 billion.
This motorway has linked industrial city of Sialkot with motorways network of the country. On successful completion all these projects are operational now.
—the writer is Director (Public Relations) at National Highway Authority, Islamabad.