ISLAMABAD: The National Development Council (NDC) Thursday approved the constitution of CPEC Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects.
The Council held its first meeting here with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair at the Prime Minister Office. The forum was attended by Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtiar, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, Adviser on Finance Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa, KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Balochistan CM Jam Kamal, SAPM on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan, KP Finance Minister Taimoor Saleem Jhagra, Asad Umar, commander Southern Command, foreign secretary, finance secretary, deputy chairman Planning Commission and others.
While discussing development of Gwadar and Master Plan of the city, the Council accorded approval to the conceptual framework of Gwadar Special Economic District. Development plan of Balochistan, Master Plan of Gwadar, creation of CPEC Authority and accelerated development plan 2019-20 for erstwhile Fata/merged districts was discussed during the meeting.
A detailed presentation was made on the development plan of Balochistan that included measures to further improve security environment in the province especially the border management, improving the writ of state and sectoral development of critical sectors for socio-economic betterment of the people of the province.
The meeting was informed that the past neglect of the province, lack of connectivity and economic integration, security challenges and underutilisation and mismanagement of resources contributed towards poverty in the province. A study of utilisation of development budget for past eight years revealed that out of total expenditure made on the development of the province, approximately 45 percent was wasted due to pilferage.
It was decided that every possible effort shall be made to enhance annual development spending of Balochistan over next nine years enabling the province to overcome development challenges, reduce budget deficit and enhance its revenue generation capacity. Discussing various sectoral development plans, the meeting was informed that communication and infrastructure projects such as completion of M-8 Motorway project, construction of 819km Chaman-Quetta-Karachi Motorway, Basima-Khuzdar Road and 124km Awaran-Bela Road project would significantly improve connectivity and communication infrastructure in the province. On development of coastal areas of the province, the forum approved feasibility studies for port at Gaddani and establishment of special economic zone at Hub.
The forum also approved constitution of National Coastal Development Authority for development of tourist resorts and promoting tourism along the coastal areas of the province including Jiwani, Gwadar, Pasni, Makola, Ormara, Kund Malir, Hingol Park and Miani Hor.
On development of ports, the forum endorsed the proposal for development of eight landing sites and promoting local boat industry including provision of 10,000 green boats.
Regarding the strategy for development of mines and mineral resources of Balochistan, the forum was informed that the province will be divided into four zones (Chaghi, Quetta-Duki, Khuzdar-Lasbella and Coastal Zone) and appropriate model will be put in place to encourage private investment in large-scale mining.
On development of oil and gas sector, the forum was apprised on efforts being made to develop four new blocks i.e., Block-28, Zhob, Zorgarh, Jandran and Kohlu for exploration, in addition to carrying out seismic survey at 30 onshore sites. The meeting was also briefed about various plans for improvement of agriculture and water-management in the province.
The forum also discussed, in detail, accelerated 10-year development plan for erstwhile Fata. The forum reiterated the commitment of the federal government to ensure availability of allocated funds, timely releases and special dispensation for procurement of specialised execution agencies (Nespak, FWO, NHA) and facilitation for screened NGOs to operate within merged areas for smooth and uninterrupted development of the merged areas.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on August 8th, 2019)