Govt Says CPEC Details Not Shared With IMF, Sherry Rehman Cites Fund’s Contradictory Version
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Special Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was informed Thursday that the Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms as well as the Ministry of Finance did not share any documents related to CPEC with IMF and its financial uptakes and deficits in balance of payments.
The committee chairperson, Senator Sherry Rehman, observed that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) administration had been quoted as saying that some information was shared with the Fund. The assurance by the government was in stark contradiction of the other version, she remarked.
Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar, however, responded that the ministry’s written response had been submitted with full responsibility.
In a briefing on labour capacity building, training programmes and initiatives under CPEC projects, the committee was assured by National Vocational and Technical Training Commission (NAVTTC) that division-wise details of the labour force requirement and the technical training opportunities would be provided to the committee by tomorrow.
The committee members had a general opinion that the work on CPEC projects was not going on at the required pace. But the minister said delay was felt due to misalignment of priorities and the current government had realigned a number of projects.
The committee chairperson observed that the Gwadar master plan had become a bone of contention as it was still in the stage of evaluation of the initial report by the consultant. She said the committee was more than willing to support the government but at least there should be some timelines on the work progress. The minister told the committee that the progress on Gwadar master plan would be made public most probably by the end of August.
The Committee also had on its agenda a project-wise briefing on the estimated cost, completion timeline and expected poverty alleviation impact of 16 fast-track projects.
Representatives from Punjab, Sindh, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan governments gave briefing on the agricultural, health, water, electricity and educational projects in the respective provinces.
The committee recommended more water related projects before sending it to the Chinese side for approval and decided to hear from the provinces once the approvals are granted and work is about to be initiated.
The meeting deferred the briefing on SMEs and SEZs, uninterrupted power supply by the power plants along with CPEC routes due to the absence of the related official and decided to move a motion of privilege if the same attitude persists.
The author is a reporter based in Islamabad.