$46 billion CPEC: Projects worth $30b already under way, says Ahsan Iqbal

Published: June 1, 2016
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The minister said that the Thar coal mining projects would be operational by 2018. PHOTO: FILE

The minister said that the Thar coal mining projects would be operational by 2018. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: Projects worth $30 billion out of a total portfolio of $46 billion have been initiated in the last one year, said Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal, adding that there was no bureaucratic hurdle in the implementation of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) schemes.

The financing arrangements for $30 billion CPEC projects are either finalised or are at various stages of approval, said Iqbal while addressing a press conference a day after the National Economic Council (NEC) meeting.

The minister said that most of the $30 billion active portfolio is in the private sector while financing agreements of road infrastructure projects of the public sector have also been signed.

Iqbal said that making $30 billion CPEC portfolio active in a limited period of one year was a big success for the country and it shows that there were no bureaucratic hurdles in the way of swift implementation.

Govt accused of not sharing details of CPEC projects

Iqbal’s comments came amid pressure to set up a CPEC authority for swift implementation of the projects that started under Chinese president’s strategic initiative, One-Belt One-Road.

The purpose of the proposed CPEC authority is said to fast-track approvals and monitoring of these schemes. However, the federal government has already turned down the request on the ground that it would add another bureaucratic layer.

Iqbal said that Gwadar port projects including New Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway have been forwarded to the Chinese side for financial approval. He hoped that this process would be completed in the next three months and work would begin soon.

According to Iqbal, the government has allocated Rs125 billion ($1.2 billion) for carrying out work on CPEC schemes during the new fiscal year 2016-17. “However, the allocations remain far less than the actual requirements.

“An amount of Rs60 billion has also been allocated for two LNG-fired power plants being set up in Punjab,” Iqbal added, hoping that these two projects would be completed by May next year.

He said in the last three years, 610 projects costing Rs747 billion have been completed.  The minister said that the 1,320MW Port Qasim power project would be completed by September next year while the Thar Coal mining projects would be operational by 2018.

To a question whether Chahbahar Port of Iran was a threat to Gwadar port, the Minister said that Pakistan does not feel threatened by any project.

PSDP review

For the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government had allocated Rs700 billion for PSDP spending while the four provinces allocated Rs814 billion, bringing the total outlay to Rs1.514 trillion. However, the Planning Commission on Monday informed the NEC that the spending would remain close to Rs1.401 trillion.

Iqbal insisted that the Rs114 billion lesser spending than approved budget was not actually a cut but a result of administrative weaknesses, legal issues and capacity constraints. Contrary to this claim, the International Monetary Fund had reported about a year ago that the federal PSDP spending would remain lower than the Rs700 billion allocation.

Ahsan Iqbal hails China’s investment interest

The minister said that due to less spending the ministries actually surrendered the surplus funds allocated for the outgoing fiscal year.

This nullifies the case of seeking a trillion-rupee federal PSDP after the ministries and corporations were unable to spend half a trillion rupee fund. As against Rs253 billion allocations in the outgoing fiscal year, the federal government has earmarked Rs282 billion for federal ministries and divisions in the new budget.

Iqbal said that the NEC approved Rs467 billion for infrastructure projects – an increase of Rs59 billion or 14.4%. Within infrastructure, for power sector Rs157 billion have been proposed, Rs260 billion have been earmarked for transport & communication, only Rs32 billion for water sector and Rs18 billion for physical planning & housing.

For social sector, Rs90 billion have been earmarked, which is only Rs9 billion higher than outgoing fiscal year’s allocation. An amount of Rs29 billion is set aside for the education sector and another Rs30 billion for health and population projects.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 1st, 2016.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Kickass
    Jun 1, 2016 - 9:21AM

    Ahsan Iqbal lacks morality.Recommend

  • Mahakaalchakra
    Jun 1, 2016 - 9:22AM

    CPEC is in fact Chinese Power Extension Cord connecting its main land to leased land at Gwader (from now consider it Gwadeta or lost for ever) port gifted to China. Other than two divisions of Pakistan army defending Chinese workers busy in extending cord Through Pakistan, there is no contribution of hard working Pakistani. All funds are Chinese, design are Chinese, engineers as well as labor are Chinese, ownership are Chinese and even the materials and supplies are Chinese for extending this Cord. What is there for Pakistani citizens to learn from this CPEC to become self sufficient for future projects? India learnt design, manufacture and installation of large 500 MW size turbine and generators, refineries, steel plants and other basic industry in last century. How long Pakistan would continue to depend on sugar daddies like USA and now China? This CPEC is aimed at collecting raw materials (oil, gas, minerals and ores) for main land China and in return dump manufactured goods to inhilate local industries for ever. They did this to USA and Europe and now this is Pakistan,s turn. Good luck.Recommend

  • Asif
    Jun 1, 2016 - 10:40AM

    Before capturing a Federal Grant in West you are posed a question weather one has handled project of similar size. If there is a lack of such experience then one does provide explanation that 30% more work can be handled by taking following steps.
    This is done because history has shown work remains incomplete, corruption, waste and the bottomline is it turns into a disaster.
    Since Pakistani politicians lacks any moral fiber I am sure no one will question “What happened to CPEC funds? Recommend

  • Sajid Qureshi
    Jun 1, 2016 - 10:50AM

    Why would Pakistan spend money on CPEC project? Isn’t sponsor by China??Recommend

  • Ali
    Jun 1, 2016 - 11:23AM

    India itself is highly dependent on chinese goods, double standards of indians are just too abysmal, for us, it becomes chinese junk, for indians , chinese goods become some high quality products, what douchbags indians areRecommend

  • Jun 1, 2016 - 11:46AM

    To all Indians please do not come here to lie. You do not know the reality on ground. China is the only country which is helping Pakistan to modernize energy sector and build infrastructure. Recommend

  • Taimoor
    Jun 1, 2016 - 12:37PM

    @Mahakaalchakra:
    Thank you so much for sharing your concerns Mr. Indian. Can you please teach us as well how to do those wonderful things since you are so concerned with pakistans well being. That is if you find time between beings Americas next pawn and doing everything India can to stop cpec.Recommend

  • Qasim Khan
    Jun 1, 2016 - 2:08PM

    If Chinese invest 35 billion then they expect at least a 10 percent return on their investment before Pakistan even starts to benefit financially from CPEC. Secondly Chinese will bring in their own skilled workers (every Chinese worker who comes to Pakistan is an engineer apparently) so very few skilled jobs will be available for locals. So we will have to be content with running truck hotels, puncture repair shops, petrol pumps for the Chinese.Recommend

  • curious2
    Jun 1, 2016 - 2:49PM

    If almost 3/4 of CPEC is “under way” then how many Pakistani’s have been hired? Recommend

  • sohel
    Jun 2, 2016 - 12:53AM

    Pakistan is geo politically in good position and this attracted the major world powers previously. But all of them specially usa used it for military purpose. This is the first time a major country china is using it for business and economic purpose. So best of luck.Recommend

  • Jun 2, 2016 - 12:08PM

    Unable to comprehend

    once A villager was requested by another to let him go through his fields ,the monger further asked to please provide a resting place in the way and construct it as per the provided plane and then make it secure by arranging security, in return, you would be given loan which you would pay with interest,
    The elder of the joint family agreed and got the loan and used it, on furnishing his own room in the house . The youngster brothers were asking why not any rent is demanded but the elder remained stubborn and blame them to be jealous and even traitors

    Till this day no one know where the joint family was ? Recommend

  • woz ahmed
    Jun 2, 2016 - 11:39PM

    @Sajid Qureshi:

    Sir I hope you are joking ?

    Although investment is appreciated , this is not a gift but a huge loan.

    The CPEC parliamentary committee last week suggested rates of 8% !Recommend

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