National Highway Authority (NHA) has prepared a five year development plan (2018-2023) for building new roads with an estimated cost of Rs 1.059 trillion.
The five year plan will be presented in the upcoming NHA Executive Board meeting for final approval.
According to documents, the total estimated cost of schemes included in five year plan (2013-18) and to be completed in next five year plan (2018-23) is Rs 1,396.860 billion leaving a throw-forward amount of Rs 526.257 billion. Estimated cost of the new schemes proposed for next five year plan (2018-23) is Rs 1,059.610 billion.
NHA’s has developed projected cash-flows for the current Public Sector Development Program (PSDP) balance running five year development plan (2013-18) followed by the proposed five year plan (2018-23).
The prime objective of the draft plan is to lock in mainstream projects so that they may not suffer on account of change in priority investments. These are huge investment projects and the delays can make their costs prohibitive as well as compromise their benefits.
Outcome after completion of both the plans in terms of maintenance, rehabilitation/ improvement and construction of highways, expressway, motorways, tunnels, bridges is given as construction of highways, 5,196 km; expressways, 1300 km; motorways, 1964 km; major bridges, 36, tunnels 7 and rehab/improvement 4, 903 km.
The development portfolio is proposed to be divided into two parts i.e. NHA core development program and NHA support development program.
NHA core program shall include international, regional and strategic (defense) connectivities while NHA support development program shall include critical investment aimed at providing local safe roads. The distribution of investments therefore would require a ratio of 80:20 between the two respectively.
NHA further proposed that each year PSDP must allocate 80% to the core program while 20% can be prioritized to deal with support schemes. Local schemes can range from inter-provincial to inter-city road connections as support system.
NHA development plan aims to meet the policy and objectives of the government i.e. to have “a modernized rood network with integrated transport system that will meet the needs of regional connectivity, competitive exports & domestic trade, social uplift and passenger mobility requirements in a cost effective way while being environmentally, economically sustainable and energy efficient”.
NHA also has to cater for strategic (defense) and commercial requirements of the country.
With the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) initiatives in regional terms and asset preservation and modernization of operation and management (O&M) at country level require re¬engineering of NHA.
According to documents, it is now critical to protect the investments considering their magnitude.
The five year development plan (2018-23) was presented in the 271st executive board meeting. The board deliberated and agreed in principle to the proposal. However, they decided to consider the plan for final approval in next meeting.
As per the plan, Vision 2025 aims at the establishment of an efficient and integrated system of communications and transport in order to both benefit from and contribute to the regional dynamism.
Key related targets are reduction in transportation costs, safety in mobility, effective connectivity between rural areas and markets/urban centers, inter-provincial high-speed connectivity, integrated road/rail networks between economic hubs (including air, sea and dry ports), high-capacity transportation corridors connecting major regional partners and exponential growth in exports. Vision 2025 envisions Pakistan to become transit hub of the region.
The role of NHA thus expands from inter-provincial connectivity to international connectivity viz-a-viz the regional connectivity development plans.