ISLAMABAD - The National Highway Authority (NHA) has successfully attracted private sector investment and has awarded four projects worth over Rs 101 billion, which is more than average annual Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the country.

NHA Chairman Shahid Ashraf Tarar said this has been ensured through dedicated efforts of NHA during the last one year.

In an interview with APP on Sunday, he said besides other benefits, the projected revenue earnings from these four projects is over Rs 391 billion.

The NHA Chairman said the present government intends to develop road infrastructure in commensurate with requirements of the country as well as the region.

It is undoubtedly the most critical activity at present moment and the country needs to be equipped with the upgraded road infrastructure during the next five to seven years, he added.

"The government wants to double the road density till 2025 and this mammoth development goal is only possible with the support of private sector, whereas fiscal budget allocations alone would suffice to meet 50 per cent of the set targeted demands", he said.

The rest has to come from the off-budget financing throughPublic-Private-Partnership (PPP) projects, he added.

The Chairman said that public private partnership is eventually becoming an essential component of NHA development strategy.

The objectives set by NHA for PPP, he said, include the development, off-budget financing, efficiency, investment, sustainability and revenue generation.

Shahid Ashraf Tarar said recent achievements of the NHA's PPP projects include renovation of 357 KM Lahore-Islamabad Motorway (M-2) likely to be completed by January 2017, Habibabad flyover on Peshawer-Karachi Highway (N-5), Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway (M-9) to be completed by December next year.

He said concession negotiations are underway for 80-KM section of Multan-D.G.Khan road and its work would start in June this year and completed in June 2018.

He said that PPP projects at procurement stage include improvement and widening of N-5 from M-2/N-5 junction to Taxila underpass. He said that 20-KM section widening would also include 6-lane flyover at Tarnol railway crossing.

He said that 53-KM Pindi Bhattian-Faisalabad Motorway (M-3) would be converted into six-lane motorway and pre-qualification applications are under evaluation stage.

About 95-KM Sialkot-Lahore Motorway, he said that its bid is at evaluation stage.

He said that PPP projects at preparation stage include 296-KM Hyderabad-Sukker section of Karachi-Lahore Motorway (KLM), 35-KM Tarnol-Fateh Jang section of Islamabad-Kohat Highway (N-80) to be converted into four-lane divided highway.

Conversion of Nowshehra-Peshawer section of N-5 into 6-lane divided expressway and two service areas on Kabul River on Peshawar-Islamabad Motorway (M-1) are also at preparation stage, he added.

He said that PPP reforms issue will be taken up with the government in order to boost the private sector investment in the development of road sector across the country.