ISLAMABAD: The government is to abolish the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority and will replace it and all matters relating to various CPEC projects will be handed over to the Planning Commission with designating a special secretary to deal with the matters.
This was stated by the senior officials of the Ministry of Planning and Development while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development held here on Friday under the chairmanship of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla.
The officials said that the ministry is working on the modalities and a final decision in this connection will be taken soon.
The officials said that the step is being taken for facilitating the Chinese investors and contractors working on CPEC projects who are facing serious problems for the past many years.
The officials said that Chinese investors and contractors were also facing problems in getting visas and the government is to make the process swift.
The officials, while responding to the bill titled, “China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority (Amendment) Bill 2021,” tabled by Senator Sherry Rehman, informed the panel that Federal Minister Ahsan Iqbal has directed the ministry to abolish the CPEC Authority.
The officials further added that the CPEC Authority was not doing enough, it was no longer needed and therefore to close it down a bill will soon be introduced in the parliament.
The chairman committee adjourned the proceedings of the Committee on the proposed amendment bill of Senator Sherry Rehman, Senator Raza Rabbani, and Senator Abdul Qadir regarding the CPEC Authority till a final decision is taken.
Talking about the non-implementation of the proposals sent by the senators to the ministry on the PSDP projects, the chairman committee expressed his serious concerns. He said that he was only informed by the concerned ministry that all the budget proposals submitted by the committee have been rejected and no explanation was given for this rejection.
“We were told in the House last year that if the PSDP budget proposals were received by the ministry before March, they would be considered,” the committee chairman said.
But despite the submission of the PSDP proposals before March, the government did not consider the proposals.
Responding to the objections raised by the chairman committee, the ministry officials said the budgetary proposals made by the senators were sent to the provinces and other relevant departments.
The chairman committee, while expressing serious concern over the matters said if the ministry forwarded the proposals to the relevant departments and the provinces, and why the committee had not been kept informed. Mandviwalla said, “If we had been informed, we would have talked to the provincial departments about these projects ourselves.”
The ministry officials told the committee that the ministry’s development funds for the current financial year have already been significantly reduced.
The budget has been reduced from Rs900 billion to Rs500 billion.
The chairman committee sought full details of the correspondence with the provinces and other departments regarding the budget proposals of the senators.
Authorities have promised to provide all the details as soon as possible. The committee approved the special report on Gwadar Port after detailed consideration.
The committee meeting was attended by senators, Dinesh Kumar, Dost Mohammad Khan, Mohammad Tahir Bizenjo, Nuzhat Sadiq, Mohammad Abdul Qadir, Palwasha Mohammad Zai Khan, Hidayatullah, and officials of the concerned ministry.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022