October 19, 2019

Govt unclear about $8.5 bn Chinese loan under IMF conditions

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

This issue was discussed during the procedures of the Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Reforms of the National Assembly that met here at the House of Parliament on Monday. The Secretary of the Planning Division, Hassan Zafar, told the NA panel that the government decided to present the ML-1 project for the improvement of the main line of the Pakistan Railways from Karachi to Peshawar before the next Joint Coordination Committee ( JCC) between China and Pakistan under the CPEC.

The JCC is expected to meet in Islamabad in October of this year. ML-1 funding has not yet been finalized under the CPEC. However, it was noted that the allocation of railroads was reduced from Rs40 to Rs16 billion in the last budget, while for the completion of ML-1 the required annual funding was Rs100 billion, so how this project would be financed . Planning managers responded that PC-1 for ML-1 was ready and would be completed in phases.

About the briefing on the publication of the new PSDP book by the ministry after the approval of the budget; The ministry informed that NEC is a constitutional body to consider the proposals presented by the PD&R Ministry and that the PSDP recommended by NEC was placed in the National Assembly. By approving the PSDP 2019-20, the NEC authorized MoPDR to make adjustments within the general size of the PSDP. The ministry informed the committee that the changes in the PSDP by the ministry were transmitted to the National Assembly. The committee recommended providing the letter containing details of the changes in the PSDP to the National Assembly.

The committee raised the question about the non-completion of the Narowal Sports City Project. The committee recommended that the Narowal Sports City project be completed as a priority. The ministry reported that projects that are 80% complete have priority.

The committee ordered a response based on the approval and then the disapproval of the Mansehra airport project. While discussing the CPEC projects, the honorable members expressed concern about the exclusion of Fata and Buner areas from the CPEC projects and the lack of PSDP projects in those areas. The committee recommended that the KP government consider the matter.

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