Govt unclear about $8.5 bn Chinese loan under IMF conditions

Govt unclear about $8.5 bn Chinese loan under IMF conditions

ISLAMABAD: The Planning Ministry is unclear whether Pakistan will be in position to get Chinese loan of $8.5 billion for construction of ML-1 under the IMF conditions or not.

This issue came under discussion during the proceedings of National Assembly Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms which met here at the Parliament House on Monday. The Secretary Planning Division Hassan Zafar told the NA panel that the government decided to table ML-1 project for up-gradation of Pakistan Railways mainline from Karachi to Peshawar before the upcoming Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) between China and Pakistan under the framework of CPEC.

The JCC is expected to meet in Islamabad by October this year. The financing of ML-1 has not yet been finalised under the CPEC framework. However, it was pointed out that the allocation of Railways slashed down from Rs40 to Rs16 billion in the last budget while for completion of ML-1 the required funding per annum stood at Rs100 billion, so how this project would be financed. The planning managers replied that the PC-1 for ML-1 was ready, and it would be completed in phases.

On the issue of publishing new PSDP Book for 2019-20, the planning managers argued that they sent out official communication to the National Assembly apprising about the changes made into the PSDP Book for 2019-20.

However, after the NA panel meeting, PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal said that the Ministry of Planning informed the committee that through 11th 5-year plan from 2013-18 the allocation for development was standing at Rs3,040 billion against which Rs3,192 billion was spent on development projects. “I was humbled for 1st time any 5-year plan surpassed the targeted allocation. Alhamdulillah,” he added.

On the briefing about publication of new PSDP book by the ministry after approval of budget; the ministry informed that NEC is a constitutional body to consider the proposals submitted by the Ministry of PD & R and the PSDP recommended by NEC was placed in the National Assembly. While approving PSDP 2019-20, the NEC authorised MoPDR to make adjustments within the overall size of the PSDP. The ministry informed the committee that the changes in the PSDP by the ministry were conveyed to the National Assembly. The committee recommended to provide the letter containing details of changes in the PSDP to the National Assembly.

The committee raised the question regarding the non-completion of Narowal Sports City Project. The committee recommended that the Narowal Sports City project may be completed on priority basis. The ministry informed that projects that are 80% complete are given priority.

The committee directed to submit reply about basis of approval and later on disapproval of Mansehra Airport project. While discussing the projects of CPEC, honorable members raised concerns over exclusion of areas of Fata and Buner from CPEC projects and lack of PSDP projects in the said areas. The committee recommended that the KP government may considered the matter.