ISLAMABAD: The planning secretary informed a Senate panel on Thursday that the planning and finance ministries had not shared any document related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Senator Sherry Rehman, the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on CPEC, said the government’s statement was in contradiction to media reports which stated that the government had shared details of debt incurred on account of CPEC projects as well as other sensitive information with the IMF.
“I am stating on record that no such information has been shared with the IMF,” Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan replied.
Rehman directed the planning ministry that there should be no ambiguity in terms of CPEC projects and stressed the need for transparency.
Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar said on the occasion that it had been submitted in writing that no document concerning CPEC had been shared with the IMF.
He added that the Senate committee should play its role in the economic development of the country by embarking upon agendas and ideas which could motivate the government to work diligently for the country.
He said the senate committee should look into issues through the prism of national interest rather than paying heed to false media reports.
The minister maintained the government-to-government loans under CPEC only stood at $6 billion so far while the rest were either commercial ones or taken under other modes.
He pointed out that the government was now focusing on developing business-to-business contacts with China to promote public-private partnership in the country.
“To boost the country’s exports, special incentive packages will be offered especially to international investors,” he said.
“Around 70,000 direct jobs have been created so far under various CPEC projects while the National Vocational Technical Training Centre is doing a great job in preparing thousands of skilled workers required for the second phase of CPEC industrial sector.”
Bakhtiar said ideally Dhabeji and Gwadar Special Economic Zones should be given priority as it was an International practice that there should be more development in areas where there was economic activity.
The minister said upgrading the Railway Main Line (ML-1) was an important project under the second phase of CPEC.
“Its completion will ensure safe, economically viable and speedy transportation of goods from North to South.”
He said a railway connection between Mazar Shareef in Afghanistan and Peshawar was also under consideration.
The minister informed the committee that the Gwadar Master Plan would be finalised by the end of August.
Senator Kauda Babar said traders of Balochistan should be given representation in the CPEC Business Forum. He also pointed out that the grant provided by China to the previous government for Gwadar airport was yet to be spent.
The chairperson of the committee expressed her displeasure over the absence of the Board of Investment chairman from the meeting. She added that a letter would be written to National Assembly about the Board of Investment chairman’s attitude. “If the matter goes to the privilege committee, he [Board of Investment chairman] could lose his job,” she warned.
(This news/article originally appeared in The Express Tribune on July 19th, 2019)