Development Budget Squeezed to Rs. 500 Billion: Secretary Ministry of Planning

The Senate Panel has postponed the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Amendment Bill until the government decides its fate.

The Senate Standing Committee on Planning met at the Parliament House on Friday with Senator Salim Mandviwala heading the meeting.

The attendees discussed the CPEC Authority Amendment Bill 2021 and 2022, and the chairman said that the Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal, had stated that the CPEC Authority was being abolished. He asked the Secretary of the ministry, Dawood Muhammad Bareach, if the government intends to abolish the authority.

The latter said that the Ministry of Law and relevant agencies are being consulted on this issue. Furthermore, the minister wants the re-alignment of the CPEC Authority as there was no tangible progress during the last four years of the previous government.

Mandviwalla said that the CPEC Authority had been formed to expedite the projects under the CPEC. The secretary informed the panel that Minister Iqbal will brief the committee on the matter.

The committee then postponed the deliberations on the bill until the decision on the fate of the authority is made.

Reduction of the Development Budget

The members complained during the meeting that the Ministry of Planning neglects the recommendations of the Members of the Parliament. Senator Dinesh Kumar said that they feel that they are unimportant to the government as it ignores the development schemes that they present.

Senator Dost Muhammad complained that Balochistan lacks clean drinking water. The Secretary Planning replied that Balochistan, Gilgit-Baltistan, and Azad Kashmir have been prioritized in the development funds.

He added that the government has an acute shortage of funds and the development program has been reduced to Rs. 500 billion from Rs. 900 billion. The secretary also informed the house that the current year’s development spending is only Rs. 480 billion.

Faiz Paracha is a seasoned broadcast journalist with over 15 years’ experience in reporting and e...