Monday July 22, 2024

Policy framework green-lit for hiring local, foreign consultants

By Mehtab Haider
February 22, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The government on Monday gave go-ahead to a policy framework for hiring domestic as well as foreign consultants for multimillion-dollar projects as a maximum of 6-8 percent of the total allocation for a scheme could be spent on these services.

An approval to this effect was granted during Central Development Working Party (CDWP) meeting, chaired by Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, and was attended by different officials.

CDWP also directed the authorities concerned to consolidate security for Chinese nationals working under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), one top official told The News.

The Provision of Security for the Project Up-Gradation of Pakistan Railways Mainline-1 (ML-1) was cleared in principle but the Ministry of Railways was directed to hold consultations with already placed security arrangements.

The government has proposed a budgetary allocation of Rs35.99 billion for the Security of the much-awaited ML-1 project under CPEC. On consultancy framework approved by the CDWP, the policy document stated that for accountability of hired consultancy firm or individual, there would be three steps as in case of failure to deliver contractual obligation, corruption, or any other allegation.

The consultancy firms/individual consultants should be placed in three different categories i.e., yellow list, grey list, and blacklist. If a consultancy firm/individual consultant underperforms but agree to work again then there should be imposed financial plenty and they be placed in yellow list.

In case of providing misleading/false information and dissatisfactory performance they should be placed on grey list and suspended for 1 to 3 year.

In case firms consistently fail to deliver the job as per contractual provisions, and are found guilty of fraud, corruption, criminal misappropriation, theft, forgery, bribery or any other criminal offence and have caused a considerable financial loss to the government, they would be debarred permanently and placed in blacklist, according to official details.

According to official statement, CDWP also agreed to divert some PSDP (Public Sector Development Programme) financing from infrastructural uplift to support economic growth and digital space to engage private sector in substructure projects from next fiscal year.

The CDWP also discussed policy related issues relating to SDGs financing for green recovery to build forward modalities of engineering, procurement, and construction criteria for development project better; consultancy framework and techno-economic feasibility criteria.

During the meeting the forum accorded a principled approval to the replacement of railway track machines.

“Track machine project envisages procurement of track lifting, levelling, aligning, and tamping machines with integrated stabiliser and self-propelled track inspection and recording car,” said Secretary Railways delivering a presentation to the meeting. The cost of machinery was inclusive of spare parts for three years. The secretary said Ministry of Railways would execute the project at a total cost of Rs7.415 billion to be financed through PSDP.

The secretary said the objective of the project was to strengthen and modernise existing rail track infrastructure maintenance by deploying latest machines/equipment all over the operating division especially Main Line 1, 2, and 3, and Tertiary Lines as envisioned in National Transport Policy of Pakistan, 2018.

“In view of increasing freight and coal business, reliability and safety of track infrastructure is the need of hour, which can be achieved through modern machinery and timely replacement of track machines,” said Secretary Railways in his briefing.