- Minister says Senate panel should look into issues through the prism of national interest rather than paying heed to false media reports
ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Standing Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was informed on Thursday that the government has not shared any document regarding CPEC with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Briefing the meeting, Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan said, “Neither planning ministry nor finance ministry has shared any such CPEC-related document of with the Fund.”
Committee chairperson Senator Sherry Rehman noted that the government’s statement was in contradiction to some media reports. “It was reported that the government had shared with the IMF details of debts incurred on account of CPEC projects,” she highlighted.
On this, Zafar Hassan reiterated, “I am stating on record that no such information has been shared with IMF.”
Sherry Rehman told the planning ministry officials that there should be no ambiguity with respect to the CPEC projects and transparency in all projects must be ensured.
Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar on the occasion said the Senate panel should play a positive role in the country’s economic development by embarking upon such agendas and ideas that could motivate the government machinery to work diligently.
“The Senate committee should look into issues through the prism of national interest rather than paying heed to false media reports.”
Bakhtiar informed the Senate panel that so far, government-to-government loans under CPEC amounted to only $6 billion while the rest were either commercial loans or were under the Independent Power Producers (IPP) mode.
He pointed out that the government was now focusing on developing business-to-business contacts with China so as to promote public-private partnerships in the country.
In order to boost the country’s exports, the minister said special incentive packages would be offered to all investors, particularly foreigners.
“As many as 70,000 direct jobs have been created so far under various CPEC projects while the National Vocational Technical Training Center (NAVTTC) is doing a great job in preparing skilled workforce required for the second phase of CPEC industrial sector,” he added.
He said the up-gradation of Railway Mainline (ML-1) was an important project under CPEC’s second phase, which, upon completion, would 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.
Talking about Gwadar Master Plan, the minister said the Gwadar Master Plan would be finalized by the end of next month.
“It is not just a matter of land; rather it is an entire framework with multi-sector issues. Therefore, we are taking time to finalize the project,” he added.
Officials from all provinces and Gilgit Baltistan briefed the committee about various social and agriculture projects approved under the Chinese grant of $1 billion.