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Review of modernised and well-functioning road network system

The studies revealed that a modernised and well-functioning road network with an integrated transport system ensures regional and global economic connectivity and integration. It reduces business costs for improving export competitiveness and trade to uplift socioeconomic growth along with offering passenger mobility gains. Furthermore, the said network is surely desired to be environmentally and economically sustainable also energy efficient. Asian Development Bank (ADB) has been helping the Government of Pakistan in attaining efficient road networks through not only constructing projects but also at the policy level. First ever National Transport Policy has been accepted through the Government of Pakistan in February 2019 and being implemented.

CPEC Project Details
Sr. No.MotorwayLengthStatus
1Havelian-Thakot (N-35)118 kmCompleted & Operational
2Multan-SukkurCompleted& Operational
3Hakla (Islamabad) -Yarik (D.I. Khan)285 kmUnder construction
4Yarik- Zhob (N-50)235 kmPC-I approved by ECNEC, funding through CPEC is being arranged
5Zhob- Quetta (N-50)331 kmUnder tendering
6Hoshab-Awaran400 kmUnder design. PC-I for Hoshab-Awaran(146 km) part-I has been recommended on16-04-2020.

Ministry of Communications has been helped in organizing Road Asset Management Working Group and Road Safety Council for better management of assets and bringing the existing to international road safety standards. Along with National Highways and Motorways (for establishing main corridors), ADB is also assisting Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK), and Sindh provinces in upgrading Provincial Highways. Institutional development incorporating sustainability is a hallmark of projects being executed. The Studies also revealed that amid today’s highly competitive and globalized world, effective and efficient transport and the logistic sector no doubt is the backbone of an economy, linking economic and urban clusters with domestic and international markets to improve broader economic performance. Through contributing directly to the economy by value-added and capital stock support, it plays a significant catalyst role in enhancing the growth and efficiency of other industries. This mostly occurs because a well-functioning transport and logistics sector can increase economy wide productivity through enhancing transport links to reduce travel time and transaction costs for enlarged businesses market access. Consequently, businesses are better able to exploit economies of scale, thereby reducing costs and specializing in areas of comparative advantage for more fruitful participation in global and regional economic cooperation and integration initiatives to raise trade and economic opportunities for additional rapid growth.

Furthermore, it can also assist spur innovation through encouraging effective networking, knowledge sharing, and collaboration amongst businesses placed across the globe and region. It also reduces poverty for welfare gains as a result of enhancing poor people’s access to economic opportunities, lowering the cost of goods and services they consume, and offering better access to essential infrastructure services.

It is unlikely to put Pakistan’s economy on a higher, more sustainable, and inclusive growth trajectory without a modern transport and communication system in place. Presently, Pakistan ranks at 22nd position globally for 263,775 Km length of its road network. Pakistan is likely to enhance its ranking significantly with the construction of new economic connectivity projects, mainly under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program and continuous government programs. Furthermore, the transport sector in general and road infrastructure, in particular, have a profound and enduring effect on the economic growth of the country. NHA is playing a vital role in enhancing the productivity and competitiveness of businesses, and the quality of travel with an emphasis on safety, apart from creating career opportunities. Pakistan is virtually bisected into two halves by River Indus. The Eastern segment is historically well developed. For better East-West connectivity, numerous bridges have been constructed across river Indus, Jhelum, Chenab, Ravi, and Sutlej. Statistics currently showed that there are three North-South corridors (N5, N55 and Motorway M1, M2, M4, M5, and M9 whereby M6 is being planned on BoT) with only N55 on the western side of River Indus.

A newly planned Western corridor is being executed, which is at dissimilar stages of implementation. Statistics also identified that the present NHA network comprises of 39 national highways, motorways, expressways and strategic roads. The existing portfolio of NHA consists of 40 on-going projects with an allocation of Rs 117,514.836 million in PSDP 2019-20 out of which Rs 57,371.916 million is the Foreign Exchange Component (FEC) and Rs 60,142.919 million is the local component. Furthermore, NHA has already constructed green field segments of Motorway network viz M-1 (Peshawar-Islamabad), M-2 (Islamabad-Lahore), M-3 (Lahore-Abdul-Hakim), M4 (Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad-Gojra-Shorkot-Khanewal-Multan), M5 (Multan-Sukkur), E35 (Hassan Abdal-Havelian-Mansehra-Thakot) and M11 (Lahore-Sialkot) boosting economic activities. NHA is now constructing Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan and plans to executed M8 (Hoshab- Awaran-Khuzdar). Public-Private Partnership Authority has approved construction of M6 (Sukkur-Hyderabad) on BoT basis.

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