Sindh will propel public and private firms to help flood victims

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KARACHI: Dejected by the weak response from international donors, the Sindh government is planning to mobilise public and private firms, both local and international, for the reconstruction of flood-hit areas in the province, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Governments of Sindh and Punjab have slashed down their development and non-developmental expenditures by Rs 45 billion and Rs 30 billion, respectively following almost zero response from the international community.
Recently, Sindh Chief Minister’s Adviser on Planning and Development Kaiser Bengali had said that international donors were uncertain on providing financial assistance due to a lack of proper implementation mechanism.
Sources told Pakistan Today that the provincial government would engage the private sector through infrastructure investment under public-private partnership similar to the case of the dual Hyderabad- Mirpurkhas Highway construction in which its share was 33 percent. In addition, civil society organisations would also be awarded contracts for the development of the flood-hit districts.
For this purpose, the Sindh Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Council, headed by the chief minister, has recently been constituted. The council would comprise eminent public and private individuals to coordinate and monitor the rehabilitation process, sources said.
Under the new strategy, private local and international organisations would be asked to adopt villages, houses, roads, schools and dispensaries for construction through their own agency. Initially, foreign assistance is direly needed for irrigation, roads, municipal infrastructure, education and health.
The Sindh government is following a ‘big push’ approach in infrastructure development. It aims to create fast connectivity by linking all district cities with main highways.
This year, priority would be given to irrigation, education, Thar coal and the restoration of municipal services.
International agencies like USAID have pledged to build houses in district Shikarpur while the Turkish government has also announced that it would build at least 500 houses for the flood victims of Khairpur Nathan Shah, Garhi Khero and Qubo Saeed Khan.