Mishandling Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project

Mishandling Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project

Accepting the bid of a particular company is likely to cost the national exchequer more than Rs 50 billion as it has shown unrealistic low traffic to get maximum government subsidy

Prime Minister Imran Khan and members of his team do not forget the mission of accountability during high level meetings and media briefings.
If a minister starts a serious discussion on a subject, a member of the super-team sitting on the sidelines reminds him to expose the corruption story of the previous governments by taking a bite, although due to the changing political climate, some ministers nowadays also disagree.
Some members of the super team are ahead of the rest of the team because of their fiery rhetoric and harsh words. Such members are considered “diamonds”. The greatest beauty of these diamonds during the last three years has been that instead of performing their duties, they have been working day and night to find the corruption stories of the opposition and send them to jail.
Contracts for several national projects were canceled in the name of corruption. After three years, the cost of these projects has increased by billions of rupees but the contracts have not been awarded till date. Projects of national importance on which PTI was to take big credit in the next elections, those projects are close to making new stories due to mismanagement.
The 306 km long Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway construction project tops the list. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government had canceled the contract for construction of Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway in January 2019, alleging corruption. The PML-N government had awarded the contract to a consortium of Chinese companies at a cost of Rs 175 billion. According to the contract, Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project was to be completed in 2021. With the completion of this project, it was to be fully connected to Peshawar-Karachi Motorway. But unfortunately this national plan fell victim to politics.
Along with the Minister of Commu-nications, a key figure in the Prime Minister’s Office began to take more interest in the project than “necessary”. Officials of the National Highway Authority realized the situation. In 2020, bids were invited for the construction of the motorway, but the bidding process was terminated after receiving only one bid. Given the time and the delicacy of the project, re-bids were re-invited and the two companies submitted bids.
When the technical bids opened, NHA officials felt the whole game was deteriorating. Therefore, the Qualified Techno Consortium has been disqualified in all respects, due to which the 306 km Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway construction project worth Rs. 191 billion by the National Highway Authority has once again come under controversy.
The bids of Techno, CMC and ACC have not been accepted on account of Based on the National Tax Number. However, Techno has been doing business since 1987 while CMC has been doing business since 1925. It was objected that Techno, CMC, ACC did not have experience in road projects.
In contrast, CMC is working on various projects in 19 countries, including Pakistan. CMC is a public listed company while Techno is a big name in the oil and gas sector. Techno completed the 80 480 million White Oil pipeline project in 2002, and is working on projects worth millions of dollars in the United Arab Emirates and Iraq. Accepting the bid of a particular company is likely to cost the national exchequer more than Rs 50 billion as it has shown unrealistic low traffic to get maximum government subsidy. 59,000 vehicles pass through Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway M9 daily. The National Highway Authority’s share will decline due to less traffic. Less government subsidy will be required through real traffic count.
The Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway is expected to be completed in 30 months. The 306 km long project will consist of 6 lane road which will be constructed on blood and operative basis. The concession period of the project will be 25 years. The tooling and ancillary rights of the project will be provided to the private sector for return on investment. The government will provide Rs.
The National Highway Authority has declared a consortium of local and Italian firm comprising Techno, CMC and ACC ineligible for Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway. Registration with the tax authorities of the consortium, construction sector experience and total value based on RFP compliance. The NHA now has no option but to accept the most expensive bid or cancel the bidding process altogether.
ZKB Company is in the process of securing a contract as a single bidder. Despite 10 days having elapsed on the review application of the disqualified techno consortium, the decision has not been issued by the concerned authorities. A final decision on whether or not to accept the NHA’s most expensive bid is expected in the next few days.
However, the Finance Ministry has refused to provide guarantee for the Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway, Karachi Circular Railway and ML-1 railway projects during the current financial year. Despite all the efforts of Asad Umar, Finance Minister Shaukat Tareen did not show flexibility due to the IMF agreement. Just throw it away, now you have reached the same place.
If these three projects are not initiated by the government, then the PTI and the country will have to pay a heavy price. The test of the Federal Minister for Communications and the Prime Minister’s Office has begun. It remains to be seen whether the government fighting against corruption will inflict heavy losses on the national exchequer, award the contract to the single company or keep to merit while adhering to the principles of justice and transparency.