Today the Government of Pakistan kicked-off a 2 year project to formulate the National Transport Policy which will cover railways, roads, ports and shipping, aviation, and logistics services.  The project seeks to create a safe, efficient and sustainable transport system to realise Pakistan’s Vision 2025. Pakistan envisages a comprehensive national transport policy and master plan that will help cut travel time and costs.  It will boost the country’s economic outlook by positioning Pakistan as a regional hub for trade and business.

The Government of the United Kingdom, through its Department for International Development (DFID), is funding this project under its Pakistan Economic Corridors Programme (PECP). This project will be administered by the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The National Transport Policy complements co-financing by DFID and ADB for roads in Balochistan, Khyber Pahtunkhwa and Punjab. DFID and ADB are also supporting Sindh and Punjab to develop more commercially viable public private partnerships so more private finance is available to meet Pakistan’s infrastructure needs.

At the project inception workshop held in Islamabad, Joanna Reid, Head of DFID Pakistan, and Werner E. Liepach, Country Director of the ADB, joined Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Reform, to underscore the importance of an effective transport policy that will facilitate more local and regional trade, create jobs and boost economic growth.

           In his remarks, Ahsan Iqbal, Minister of Planning, Development and Reform said:

“With the substantial expected investment in infrastructure under CPEC in the coming years and increased proposed development in infrastructure projects to meet the targets set in FYP 2013-18 and Vision 2025, it is extremely important that we formulate a National Transport Policy which not only addresses the transport sector issues but is inclusive and all stakeholders are taken on board.”

            Talking about the initiative, Joanna Reid, Head of DFID Pakistan, said:

“A National Transport Policy will complement government efforts to improve transport and trade infrastructure. This will improve local and regional trade. Well planned, safe, better maintained and regionally connected transport infrastructure is the key to unlocking the economic growth potential of Pakistan. The new policy should work for all Pakistanis including women and girls and it should be climate smart to truly meet Pakistan’s Vision 2025”.

            Werner E. Liepach, ADB Country Director, said:

Inefficiencies in the performance of the transport sector costs Pakistan’s economy 4–6% of gross domestic product every year. ADB and other partners have been assisting Pakistan address the transport infrastructure deficit, but such infrastructure investment needs to be backed with the institutional improvement and policy intervention

Pakistan suffers from inadequate and poor quality transport infrastructure which is estimated to cost the economy between 4-6% of GDP. A more coherent approach to transport planning and maintenance including railway, roads, ports and airports will help reduce the time and cost of transport in Pakistan.  It will also improve road safety reducing the number of lives lost in road accidents.

This policy will formulate a holistic vision and prioritised action plan to upgrade Pakistan’s transport sector offering long term opportunities for all transport modes. Improvement of road safety programs, road asset management systems, scaling up resources for better road design and maintenance, and supporting multimodal transport to facilitate trade within Pakistan and with its neighboring countries, are other key targets of the initiative.