Three key projects to be executed under public-private partnership mode

The government on Tuesday decided in principle to take at least three major projects — two sections of motorways and logistics of Pakistan Post — to public-private partnership (PPP) mode for investors’ participation and upgradation.

Informed sources told Dawn that the Public Private Partnership Authority (PPPA) would shortly come up with fresh transaction structures for Sukkur-Hyderabad motorway (M-6) worth about Rs200 billion and Kharian-Sialkot motorway (M-11) worth Rs40bn. The M-6 project had previously been offered in the PPP mode but required some financial support from the government.

A meeting of the PPPA’s executive committee, presided over by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Jehanzeb Khan, decided to hire an international consultant to prepare a feasibility and transaction structure for upgradation and development of Pakistan Post’s logistic business on modern lines through private sector’s participation. This will cost about Rs20 million.

The meeting “accorded approval to the project development fund support for upgradation/revamping of Pakistan Post’s Logistics Business on PPP mode”, an official statement said.

The meeting noted that Pakistan Post had been a profitable entity about seven-eight years ago but had been in a bad shape over the years due to lack of interest by the government and its management, though the government had been extending financial support to it. During this period, the private sector developed its infrastructure while Pakistan Post could not keep up with modern services.

The meeting was informed that with a large countrywide network of over 12,000 branches, Pakistan Post had a great opportunity through digitisation of its services to leverage its true potential by also venturing into e-commerce, creating new business opportunities and improving its revenue stream. The approval for induction of an international consultant leading to finalisation of transaction structure would take about 18 months.

The meeting was also attended by the secretaries of planning, communications and finance and the PPPA management.

The meeting also reviewed the current status and progress of various projects under PPP mode. It was noted that the PPPA was currently reviewing about 47 projects and there was a need to bridge financing gaps through the Pakistan Development Fund. These projects are at various stages of engagement with implementation agencies to prepare for evaluation of concept proposals, financial screening, assistance in advisory services and feasibility studies.

The board also approved the hiring of consultants for operational readiness and financial matters of the PPPA.The board directed the PPPA to strictly follow the public procurement rules and regulations in the hiring process of the consultants.