ISLAMABAD: Following the reservations and demands raised by China, the federal government has established the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority through a presidential ordinance.
The government on Monday forwarded the CPEC Authority draft to President Dr Arif Alvi for approval. The decision was taken in haste as no session of the National Assembly (NA) and Senate was held.
According to sources, the ordinance would be applicable across Pakistan and the office of the authority would be established in Islamabad.
“The Chinese side had wanted Pakistan to establish CPEC Authority to achieve the targets set under the CPEC Framework,” sources said, adding that the government has established the CPEC Authority in haste, as PM Imran Khan would reach China later in the day.
“The establishment of CPEC Authority through presidential ordinance and grant of tax benefits to Chinese and other companies for investment in Gwadar port and free zone have been made to apparently appease and lure Chinese companies,” sources maintained. “There are sufficient chances that the Chinese government and businessmen will express their willingness to invest in Pakistan during the premier’s visit.”
It is pertinent to mention that the Cabinet Committee for Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) had considered and recommended the draft legislation of CPEC Authority Ordinance.
The cabinet, in its meeting on 17th Sept, had approved in principle the recommendation of CCLC with regard to the establishment of CPEC Authority, subject to fine-tuning by the committee headed by the law and justice minister. The committee, after holding detailed deliberations in its meeting on 18th Sept, finalised the CPEC Authority Ordinance.
According to documents available with this scribe, “The authority shall be a corporate body, having perpetual succession and a common seal, with power, subject to the provisions of this ordinance, to enter into contracts, acquire and hold property, both moveable and immovable, and to sue and be sued in its name.”
The authority will consist of a chairperson, chief executive officer, executive director (operations), executive director (research) and six members to be appointed by the prime minister for a period of four years and shall be eligible for re-appointment for one similar term.
The CEO will be a civil servant of BS-20 or above, who shall be appointed on deputation, while the qualification, experience and terms and conditions for appointment of the chairperson, executive directors and members shall be prescribed by rules.
The chairperson, an executive director or a member may resign from his office by writing under his hand addressed to the prime Minister. The PM may remove the chairperson, executive director or member from office if, on an inquiry conducted by a person or persons designated with the approval of the PM, he is found inefficient or unable to perform the functions of his office due to mental or physical disability or to have committed misconduct.
In case of a vacancy occurring due to death, resignation, retirement or removal of the chairperson, executive director or member, the appointment of another qualified person shall be made within a period not exceeding three months from the date of such vacancy.
The CEO shall act as chairperson at any time when the post is vacant or the chairperson is unable for any reason to exercise his powers or perform his duties.
An officer of the authority so nominated by it shall act as secretary to the authority. The secretary shall be the custodian of the common seal of the authority.
The authority shall be primarily responsible for coordination, monitoring and evaluation to ensure implementation of CPEC activities. It shall exercise its powers and perform its functions in line with the framework and memorandum of understanding signed between Pakistan and China.
The federal government from time to time assigns more functions and issues guidelines to the authority, and the authority in respect of each financial year shall prepare its own budget in accordance with the prescribed procedure and shall maintain complete and accurate books of account of its actual expenses and receipts.
The budget prepared by the authority shall be reviewed by the budget committee consisting of three members to be nominated by the authority from amongst the executive directors and members. The budget committee shall ensure that the authority complies with all requirements of this ordinance.
All investments made by the authority shall be with the approval of the budget committee and the accounts of the authority shall be audited annually by the Auditor General of Pakistan while CEO shall be the principal accounting officer of the authority.
In addition to other powers and functions as assigned under the presidential ordinance and rules, the authority shall be primarily responsible for coordination, monitoring and evaluation to ensure implementation of CPEC related activities.
CPEC Fund shall vest in the authority and shall be utilized by the authority to meet all expenses and charges properly incurred in connection with carrying out the purposes of this ordinance.
The authority may open and maintain bank accounts as scheduled banks.
The chairperson and six other persons on the authority shall constitute the quorum for a meeting of the authority.
The authority shall meet at least once in a quarter. The chairperson shall call all meetings of the authority. The chairperson shall also call a meeting of the Authority within five working days of being requested in writing to do so by at least three persons from amongst the CEO, executive directors and members.