Senate committee discusses setting up CPEC authority

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

Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gillani confirmed introducing a policy on special economic zones (SEZs) under CPEC by the end of the current year whereas Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan said that a new authority was being set up to run CPEC projects.

“The draft for the establishment of authority is ready. Now it is up to the government to give it the shape of an ordinance or get it approved by the parliament,” the secretary said.

The planning secretary in a meeting of Senate Special Committee on CPEC presided over by Senator Sherry Rehman said, “Rules will have to be formed after the approval of the draft after which the authority will come into existence.”

Senator Javed Abbasi said that the draft should be presented before the meeting so that they could give suggestions on it.

Senator Kauda Babar maintained that the formation of CPEC authority was the need of the time and it should be established through an Act of Parliament instead of ordinance.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that authority’s terms of reference (ToRs) should be shared with the committee.

“The parliament was not taken into confidence on the issue of authority. We will not support any ordinance on this matter. Laws should be made for the purpose. The authority should have representation from all the provinces,” she declared.

“We will not agree on the authority unless it has due representation from all the provinces,” she added.

Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Gillani maintained the exports in the country were not showing significant improvement due to the fact that there were basic flaws in SEZs Act, 2012.

“These flaws are being removed and it is hoped that the amendments in the law would be finalised by end of current fiscal year,” he said.

Stressing on the need to work keeping in view the personal interests, he said that the economic affairs of a country could not be run on loans only without industrialization.

He remarked that Bangladesh had prepared its SEZ law by looking at its ground realities after which the country succeeded in boosting its industrialisation and exports.

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

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

Speaking about the electricity requirement for SEZs, BOI secretary said that by December, 10MW electricity would be added for Rashakai Economic Zone and Allama Iqbal Economic Zone in Faisalabad.

He said in Dhabeji Economic Zone 32MW electricity would be provided by 2022.

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

BOI chairman replied that the government was fully focused on the development of projects in Balochistan including two SEZs-Hub and Bostan.

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

Power Secretary Irfan Ali briefed the committee on tariff determination by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra) for coal-based energy project (300 MW) in Gwadar. He said that the tariff for the project had already been determined.

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