NHAI’s chairman NN Sinha said NHAI is awaiting cabinet approval to float InvITs by the end of the year.
Amid mounting debt which touched `1.8 lakh crore last fiscal and increasing fund requirement to implement the Bharatmala pariyojana, the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) will seek more budgetary support next fiscal even as it is looking for newer avenues of fundraising such as Infrastructure Investment Funds (InvITs).
“NHAI is in a very sound situation and honouring all commitments. We will continue to implement highways. However, like any other authority or any other institution we will be happy and grateful to the government if we get more budgetary resources,” NHAI’s chairman NN Sinha said at an event organised by CII. “We will be requesting the government to release more resources form the budgetary support,” he said.
For 2019-20, NHAI has received a total of `36,691-crore budgetary support that includes cess and plough back of toll and highway monetisation proceeds. The amount is around 1.7% less than `37,320.63 crore accorded in 2018-19 (RE). However, it has been tasked with awarding 6,000 km of highways and constructing a record 4,500 km in the current fiscal. The chairman said this year’s 4,500 km highway construction target would be achieved.
NHAI’s borrowing limit for the current fiscal has been enhanced to `75,000 crore from `60,000 crore in 2018-19.
Last fiscal, it awarded 2,222 km of highway projects, less than 7,397 km awarded in 2017-18. It constructed 3,320 km in 2018-19, a little higher than the 3,071 km in 2017-18. NHAI has been mandated to implement the Bharatmala project under which it will have to develop 34,800 km highways over a five-year period from 2017-18 to 2021-22 at an outlay of `5.35 lakh crore.
NHAI’s cumulative debt has mounted to `1.78 lakh crore in FY19 from around `40,000 crore in FY14. The borrowing will further go up to `3.31 lakh crore by FY23 for the implementation of Bharatmala programme, rating agency Icra had estimated earlier.
Around 35% of NHAI’s annual expenditure now goes into construction of national highways, 30% into acquisition of land, 16% in extending grant for projects under hybrid annuity model (HAM), 15% in debt servicing and the remaining 4% into payment of annuity.
Sinha said NHAI is awaiting cabinet approval to float InvITs by the end of the year. Also, `5,000 crore to be raised through masala bonds.