Senate panel clears Public-Private Partnership Authority Act

Published February 17, 2022
PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla (L) presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development on Wednesday. — Senate of Pakistan Twitter
PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwalla (L) presides over a meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development on Wednesday. — Senate of Pakistan Twitter

ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Wednesday unanimously cleared the Public-Private Partnership Authority (P3A) Act that gives representation to a member each of the two houses of parliament and the provinces on its board, but did not clear a bill on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA) for lack of provincial representation.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development presided over by Saleem Mandviwalla unanimously passed the P3A Act, recommending the nomination of one member each of the Senate and the National Assembly, to be nominated by the chairman and speaker, respectively, for the authority’s board for input on development projects in the P3 mode.

The bill, proposed by Senator Abdul Qadir, also envisaged reducing the number of private sector members in the P3A board to four from five, with the condition that one would come from each province. It was explained that elected representatives should be on the board of such authorities to represent interests of the electorate and the general public in policy formulation.

The provincial representation on the same lines has to take care of provincial interests because such projects had considerable employment implications.

Appraises status of various projects in terms of source of funding and estimated costs

The meeting expressed displeasure over the inability of National Highway Authority (NHA) to provide adequate information on projects worth Rs2 billion and above.

The committee appraised the status of various projects in terms of source of funding and estimated costs but the members expressed concern regarding lack of information and sought details with updated figures in the next meeting.

Questions were raised regarding the process of tendering and the reasons for breaking up of large projects into smaller ventures. The NHA representatives, however, said the method was used to facilitate middle tier contractors so that they could also be engaged.

Bills from members related to the CPECA were deferred after Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Khalid Mansoor promised to come back with government stance on inclusion of provincial representatives in the board.

The senators were of the view that sense of discontentment was increasing among the provinces, particularly Balochistan, in terms of CPEC projects and special zones. Hence it was necessary that all provinces be given representation in CPECA’s board of directors.

Mr Mansoor said the authority required experts to pursue various nodes of the multi-billion dollar programme and the CPECA had separate coordination mechanism with the provinces including through 11 working groups on different sectors.

Mr Mandviwala said the authority should include at least six members, representing four provinces and Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan.

As Mr Mansoor sought some time for consultation with the government, the meeting decided to defer all the three drafts of various members.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2022

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