Pakistan is yet to implement an Axle Load Policy which is causing loss of around $4 billion per annum to the national exchequer.
This was revealed in the meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Communications which met under the Chairmanship of Senator Prince Umer Ahmedzai on Tuesday. The committee observed that even countries like Somalia, Afghanistan, Iran, and India have an Axle Load Policy, but Pakistan is yet to implement it.
The committee was informed that if Axle Load regulations are implemented approximately $4 billion spent on road infrastructure will be saved and boost the transport industry. It was proposed that implementation should be monitored at the loading points of all the industry units. The committee decided to hold further meetings with the provinces and experts to deliberate on the matter.
The committee made important recommendations regarding the Sialkot-Kharian Motorway project, Pindi-Kharian Motorway project) being executed under the Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA).
Regarding the Sialkot-Kharian Project, Minister for Communications Shahid Ashraf Tarar said that the project is 50 percent complete. The committee observed that the statement of the minister is contradictory to the information on the brief which says that overall physical progress is approximately 8.35 percent. The committee also noted that the brief provided by the Ministry was incomplete and missed important facts of the project.
The committee showed dissatisfaction with the progress of the Pindi-Kharian Motorway Project under the PPPA, the committee raised serious objections to the cancellation of the LOI (letter of Intent).
NHA informed that the revocable Letter of Intent issued to the first ranked bidder, i.e. Techno-Matracon JV in association with Power China Chengdu was revoked since the bidder could not substantiate that Power China Chengdu is the lead EPC Constructor as shown in the bid. This condition was already mentioned in the LOI and despite giving multiple chances, the bidder could not prove it. It is pertinent to mention that the bid qualified the experience requirement solely on the basis of Power China Chengdu’s experience.
The NHA argued that the bidder failed to fulfill LOI requirements and the NHA constantly pursued the bidder through a series of meetings and letters to address the observation of NHA to reaffirm the role of the bidder’s association partner as Lead EPC constructors, failing which the LOI was canceled.
The committee maintained reservations about the issuing of the LOI in the first place without probing into the bidder’s work capacity and later canceled the same without plausible reason. The committee sought details of the correspondence exchanged with the bidder on the same. The committee said that this may lead to higher project costs if the project was retendered. It was decided that an exclusive session of the Senate Standing Committee would be held to discuss these projects.
ProPakistani Comment: The $4 billion per annum figure seems very high, however, this figure was quoted during the meeting of the committee.