Balochistan mulls buying Gwadar port

The Balochistan government intends to buy all shares of the Gwadar deep-sea port.

Shahzad Baloch June 22, 2010

The Balochistan government intends to buy all shares of the Gwadar deep-sea port in order to take control of the project.

Balochistan Finance Minister Mir Asim Kurd announced this during his post-budget press conference here on Tuesday.

He said the government would buy the stake of the Singapore Port Authority and the National Logistics Cell (NLC) to assume full control of the Gwadar port.

Kurd said the government had allocated Rs12 billion for making investment in Saindak and Reko Diq projects and was also considering buying significant number of shares of OGDCL, with control of the organisation in mind.

He said the government has established the Balochistan Investment Board, with the chief minister as chairman and top professionals as members, to attract foreign investors.

“Rs1 billion have been allocated for building a refinery equipped to separate gold from copper,” he said, adding that the provincial government could earn as much as Rs45 billion from the project.

At present, the minister said, blister copper is being taken to China where it is refined and the government of Balochistan is unaware how much gold is produced from Saindak. He was of the view that by establishing a refinery at the metal mining site—both Reko Diq and Saindak copper-and-gold project—the government would provide jobs to hundreds of people.

He said that it was the biggest achievement of the government to derive the best bargain out of the NFC Award, which put huge resources at the disposal of this backward province. Previously, Balochistan was denied its legitimate share from the divisible pool and also the right price of its natural gas, he said.

When a journalist pointed out that the budget had a block allocation of resources for unspecified purposes, the minister drew a blank, and advised newsmen to put this question to the minister for planning and development on Wednesday when he is scheduled to give press briefing.

In regard to job opportunities, Kurd said that all 38,000 applicants would get jobs in due course. “It was a wrong impression that only 5,000 applicants would be given jobs and others would be denied this opportunity,” the minister maintained.

He said the provincial government, with the cooperation of federal government, will make efforts to provide jobs to 20,000 people during the fiscal year starting from July 1.

On a question, he said Rs 30 million have been allocated for each MPA for their development programme, much higher than the average sum set aside for their counterparts in other provinces. He said it was Rs40 million during the current fiscal year and was slashed by Rs10 million for the coming fiscal year.

Holding the previous federal government responsible for the deteriorating law and order situation in Balochistan, the minister said around Rs6 billion were spent during the current fiscal year while Rs12 billion have been allocated for the coming financial year.

In regard to rampant corruption, the minister said that the chief minister had launched a war against corrupt practices and he is expected to win the battle by substantially reducing the menace.

He said that great emphasis has been placed on promotion of education and provision of health facilities in all the districts with specific allocations for each.

He said that the provincial government had taken over all the educational institutions from the district and local government and that is why the number of employees in the education department has jumped from 8,176 to over 59,000. The allocation of funds also increased to Rs17 billion, the minister said.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2010.


کاشف | 11 years ago | Reply Balochistan should take matters in its own hands, earn as much as they can and invest in education, infrastructure development and industry.
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