Senate panel calls for early establishment of CPEC Authority

  • Senator Sherry Rehman says rules and regulations for CPEC Authority must be acceptable to all political parties
  • Senator Usman Kakar accuses govt of its ‘non-seriousness in development of Balochistan SEZs’

ISLAMABAD: The Senate’s Special Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Planning to finalise all the requirements necessary for the establishment of CPEC Authority at the earliest.

Committee chairperson Senator Sherry Rehman said that the corridor was a national project and all political parties were unanimously in favour of this framework. However, she said the rule and regulations for the said authority must be acceptable to all the political parties. “The CPEC Authority Bill should be passed through an act of parliament instead of an ordinance.”

The bill, she said, would not be cleared by the Upper House until all provinces are given due representation in the authority.

Senator Kauda Babar said that the establishment of CPEC Authority was a need of the hour and keeping in view the importance of the project, the government should not waste any further time and table the draft bill in the parliament.

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Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan informed the committee that draft bill of the authority has been prepared and would be presented for approval soon.

Meanwhile, briefing on Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC, Board of Investment (BOI) Chairman Zubair Gilani said the exports of the country were not showing significant improvement as there were some basic flaws in SEZs Act, 2012.

“These flaws are being removed and it is hoped that the amendments in the law would be finalized by end of current fiscal year (FY20),” he said. “Without removing the basic flaws in the law, industrialization cannot be promoted in the country.”

He said under the new policy, the industrialists and exporters would enjoy all the facilities in the SEZs that Vietnam and Bangladesh were offering.

Gilani informed that during last three months a remarkable progress was made in the three SEZs, namely Rashakai, Allama Iqbal and Dhabeji SEZs.

Senator Azam Swati pointed out that earlier, there was no progress in the SEZs in the country due to the fact that the investors were more interested in transactions of plots of the zones rather than establishing their industries.

However, he said the PTI government was working on removing all such bottlenecks and flaws to truly promote industrialization and export in the country.

Giving a presentation on the electricity requirement for the SEZs, the BOI secretary said by December this year, 10MW of electricity would be available for Rashakai and Allama Iqbal economic zones.

Further, he said in Dhabeji economic zone, 32MW of electricity is planned to be provided by 2022.

Senator Usman Kakar alleged the government was not serious in development of SEZs in Balochistan.

The BOI chairman informed that the government was fully focused on the development projects in Balochistan, including two SEZs – Hub and Bostan.

He informed that Hub was like a jewel in the crown because of its location near the port.

The planning secretary said the Balochistan government was not interested in the projects.

“For a number of times, we (the federal government) approached the Balochistan government with respect to various projects but unfortunately it was not receptive and showed a non-serious attitude,” he added.

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