Ahsan Iqbal
Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Friday called for immediate removal of problems faced by the Chinese investors and contractors working on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including swift processing of their visa cases.

During a visit to CPEC Authority offices, the minister also directed the authorities concerned to prepare a structure so that the CPECA could be wound up and integrated into the Ministry of Planning and Development because it was in conflict with rules of business of the various ministries.

Mr Iqbal told Dawn that the CPECA was dysfunctional and was in conflict with the role of line ministries. Under the rules of business, ministries had the basic roles in the implementation of policies and projects under the CPEC but a parallel organisation only created duplication of work and lack of ownership.

Asad Umar
Asad Umar

Responding to some media reports that the CPECA’s chairmanship had been given to newly sworn in federal minister Chaudhry Salik Hussain of PML-Q, the minister said he was not aware of any such move and added that it was illogical to have a parallel set up.

Meets Chinese investors next week; invites Asad Umar for briefing on key initiatives

He recalled that PML-N had strongly opposed the creation of CPECA through an act of parliament because it was unnecessary and superfluous as the planning ministry had discharged the role very diligently and effectively in the past.

He said the opposition members had dissented to the act because it appeared to be a parallel Planning Commission with little utility and become a “white elephant”.

Mr Iqbal in his dissenting note had recalled that more than $29 billion worth of investment had been channelised by the Planning Commission successfully without any authority and with the support of various ministries which should continue for successful implementation.

Meanwhile, Mr Ahsan invited his predecessor Asad Umar to a farewell briefing on the development initiatives of greater public importance that PTI started and should continue in public interest. Mr Umar could not be reached for comments.

Published in Dawn, April 23rd, 2022

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