Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs Mir Hasil Bazenjo claimed that NATO has agreed to transport its goods from Gwadar Port, which is currently being handled at Karachi Port.
“The government is trying to use Gwadar Port for the Afghanistan–Pakistan Transit Trade Agreement (APTTA) to make it fully operational”, said Bazenjo while briefing the National Assembly Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs, which met with Syed Ghulam Mustafa Shah in the chair.
“The government cannot transfer business to the Gwadar Port, but is trying to bring a ship per week and for the purpose held meetings with different stakeholders. NATO has agreed to use Gwadar Port for transporting its goods, as it is easier and near for them”.
Federal Minister further said that government is making efforts to start transhipment from the Gwadar Port. Government also held meetings with chambers of commerce and industry and some businessmen have agreed to transport coal from the Port, he added.
The Ministry of Maritime Affairs presented their budgetary proposals related to the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for the financial year 2018-19. A total of 30 projects of which 15 ongoing and 15 new, proposed for the next financial year were presented.
More Projects Proposed
Gwadar Port Authority proposed 12 projects including 10 ongoing and two new projects with estimated cost of Rs 32.095 billion for the next fiscal year 2018-19.
The ongoing projects include; construction of Eastbay expressway (China Pakistan Economic Corridor)—Rs 7.5 billion, development &construction of port allied structure in Mullah Band area—Rs 704 million, up-gradation of GPA Housing complex—Rs 272.559 million, establishment of CPEC support unit (CSU) for project and activities in GPA—Rs 13 million, feasibility study for construction of break water (CPEC)—Rs 50 million, Pak-China technical & vocational institute at Gwadar (CPEC)—Rs 500 million, capital dredging of berthing areas & channel for additional terminals (CPEC)—Rs 500 million, feasibility study for construction of petroleum/petrochemical & dry bulk terminal –Rs 30 million, business complex R,O plant (0.2 m/g/d capacity)—Rs 250 million and land acquisition as per Gwadar Port Master Plan –Rs 13 billion.
GPA also proposed two new projects include; east bay Expressway (Phase-II) feasibility study –Rs 76 million and establishment of Gwadar Port security force & development of security infrastructure—Rs 200 million.
The Ministry proposed,
“Development of information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructure” with an estimated cost of Rs 23.23 million for the next fiscal year. PC-1 has been prepared which will be presented in the upcoming meeting of the DDWP of the Ministry. The objective of the project is to implement E-office application in the Ministry of Maritime Affaires. Official said that it will improve internal communications, efficiency, accuracy, transparency and accountability.
The Secretary and different departments’ heads gave individual presentations for Ministry of Maritime Affairs (Main), Gawadar Port Authority, Port Qasim Authority, Pakistan National Shipping Corporation, Pakistan Marine Academy, Korangi Fish Harbour Authority, Marine Biological Research Laboratory and Government Shipping Office Karachi.
The Committee unanimously approved all the proposals with the emphasis to meet the timelines as well as codal formalities. The Chairman Karachi Port Trust (KPT) assured the committee that its recommendations will be followed in letter and spirit. He admitted that hundreds of acres of land has been encroached and court cases are being vigorously pursued followed by the concerned department of KPT. He said that 25-30 percent of cases can be settled out of court, on which the committee recommended that try to settle down the matter but ensure transparency.
The committee also recommended the reappointment of former Chairman Port Qasim Authority (PQA) Agha Jan Akhtar on the basis of his outstanding performance. The committee recommended the Federal Minister for Maritime Affairs to take up the issue again in the cabinet, to which he agreed while stating that matter would discussed with Prime Minister.