ISLAMABAD: The government has spent 18% extra funds on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19, Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan informed a Senate panel.
During a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reform, Hassan said, “The government released Rs192 billion in the previous fiscal year for CPEC projects against the total allocation of Rs167.16 billion.”
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Discussing the re-allocation of Rs24 billion out of Rs27 billion under the head of special initiatives of CPEC to other programmes, Senator Talha Mehmood maintained that owing to extreme national importance, CPEC projects must be given preference over others. He questioned why and where Rs24 billion was re-allocated.
Hassan said the amount was not specifically allocated for CPEC projects. “Let me clarify that Rs27 billion was placed in an excess pool of the PSDP, which could have been utilised for CPEC projects on a need basis,” he said.
The planning secretary told the meeting that these funds were diverted to the Cabinet Division and were utilised for small projects at the grassroots level in less developed areas of the country.
He clarified that the previous government had made a token allocation for more than 343 unapproved projects whose implementation was not expected in the near future. Therefore, he said, in order to avoid extra expenditure due to delay in projects, “we have delayed most of these projects and funds were diverted to other important projects.”
Briefing the meeting, officials of the Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) said the development of a large alternative grid for renewable energy generation projects was being pursued through private investors.
The committee was informed that 24 wind power projects of cumulative capacity of 1,233.37 megawatts were operational and providing electricity to the grid besides six solar projects of a total 430MW capacity, which were also operational.
Similarly, bagasse-based power generation plants of sugar mills having 259.1MW capacity were also operational.
Talking about renewable energy projects under CPEC, the officials informed the meeting that the CPEC framework included seven wind power projects of 398MW, of which five projects of 299MW had already been completed.
Likewise, 1,000MW solar power projects in the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur were also part of CPEC.
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Furthermore, the meeting was informed that in order to ensure sustainable supplies and energy security, the government was focusing on exploiting the abundant wind and solar resources for power generation while keeping in view the best possible mode for benefiting from declining prices of renewable energy.
The government has also formulated the Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) Policy 2019 after the expiry of ARE Policy 2006 in a bid to establish a robust framework for creating an environment conducive for sustainable growth of the ARE sector in Pakistan.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2019.
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