Apex committee reviews progress on GB uplift package

Asad Umar stresses regional power grid in Gilgit-Baltistan; directs IT ministry to finalise the auction of 3G and 4G licences

ISLAMABAD: The third meeting of the apex committee, constituted by the government to introduce a historic development package for Gilgit-Baltistan, reviewed the progress on proposed projects/schemes on Monday.

During the meeting, chaired by Planning Development & Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar, projects related to public sector, non-PSDP initiatives, as well as public-private partnership (PPP) were discussed in detail.

GB Chief Minister Khalid Khurshid, secretaries of Kashmir Affairs and GB ministry, planning ministry and water & power ministry, National Highway Authority chairman, PPP Authority CEO and GB additional chief secretary were also present on the occasion.

As per details, the GB additional chief secretary briefed the minister on projects in priority sectors such as clean/hydropower energy, health, education & skill development, tourism, private sector development, agriculture, women development, social welfare and youth.

The meeting was informed that all provincial departments are in contact with relevant federal ministries/divisions, and that PC-Is of the shortlisted schemes are being prepared by the respective departments.

Asad Umar stated that the GB power sector should have a regional grid of its own, as connection to the grid posed a challenge due to the distance involved. He said that the aim of GB development package on the energy side is not only to produce electricity but also to build the right institutional and regulatory framework that could ensure better transmission and distribution capacity.

He directed the Ministry of IT and PTA to finalise the auction of 3G and 4G licences in GB on priority basis, as importance of IT in remote areas is much bigger than large cities of Pakistan. “Economic activities in remote areas will only be possible through strong IT infrastructure in the future,” he opined.

Asad Umar directed the PPP Authority to assist the GB government in strengthening the GB PPP Unit and help in the identification of private sector partners. He also called on the Board of Investment to hold roadshows in two or three different cities of Pakistan where the federal and provincial governments could jointly market available public-private opportunities to potential investors.

In addition, the minister directed the planning ministry to devise a strategy to build the capacity of GB officers. He ordered ministries/divisions to complete the feasibility and submit the PC-Is of all projects to the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) so that activities on ground could start as early as possible.

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Ghulam Abbas
Ghulam Abbas
The writer is a member of the staff at the Islamabad Bureau. He can be reached at [email protected]
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