Pakistani minister says 43% foreign-funded projects in country are ‘problematic’

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s Ministry of Economy said on Thursday that 43 percent of foreign-funded projects were problematic.
The ministry said 43 percent of about $35 billion worth of these projects was problematic — either not progressing well or unable to deliver the desired results. dawn newspaper reported.
During the National Coordinating Committee’s review meeting on foreign-funded projects, the ministry said it managed an ongoing portfolio of $34.8 billion of such projects across various economic sectors, of which projects worth more than $15 billion (43 percent ) are considered problematic.
An official statement from the Department stated that the share of federal energy projects is about $3.3 billion, of which $2.3 billion (or nearly 70 percent) is assessed as problematic.
No wonder, then, that the energy sector poses a challenge to the stability of the country, an official said, citing more than 17 percent losses and 10 percent short recovery periods in the energy sector and 10-17 percent system losses in the gas sector, local media reported.
Economic Affairs Minister Sardar Ayaz Sadiq chaired the evaluation meeting, which was attended by the heads of the executive agencies, the relevant ministers and the representatives of the provincial authorities.
Sadiq emphasized the impact of projects in the energy sector on the general economy and the general public, while loathing the current situation.
Energy was arguably one of the most important inputs to economic growth to support industrial and commercial activity, he said, adding that it was becoming a challenge.
The minister insisted on solving problematic projects related to chronic project delays. Sadiq along with other Pakistani officials have also set goals with timelines for better control and prevention of time and greater efficiency.
Regular follow-up monthly meetings were suggested by the secretary of economic affairs Mian Asad Hayauddin for monitoring and quick troubleshooting.
The review meeting takes place amid the economic crisis in Pakistan for which the country is enlisting the help of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Earlier there were talks between the Pakistani government and the IMF in Doha, where the organization wanted Pakistan to take steps to revive its stalled $6 billion program to manage its budget deficit.
Against this background, Shehbaz Sharif has raised fuel prices for the third time in recent weeks and eliminated fuel subsidies to reduce the budget deficit and secure critical support from the IMF.

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