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Friday, May 15, 2015

CPEC budget priorities

The Express Tribune HOME PAKISTAN BUSINESS WORLD SPORTS LIFE & STYLE MULTIMEDIA OPINION MAGAZINE BLOGS URDU NEWS LIVE NEWS S Budget priorities: Govt to jettison 100 projects to make room for corridor By Shahbaz RanaPublished: May 15, 2015 304 SHARES SHARE TWEET EMAIL PHOTO: PIXGOOD PHOTO: PIXGOOD PHOTO: PIXGOODMany projects to be shut down are in least developed areas of smaller provinces. PHOTO: EXPRESS ISLAMABAD: Caught between the desire to keep its commitments to the International Monetary Fund and to Beijing, the finance ministry will likely shut down 100 so-called ‘less important’ development projects in a bid to create the fiscal space for the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. “CPEC and energy projects are the top priority of the government and we will allocate at least Rs250 billion in coming budget to avoid delays,” said Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday. However, the closure of over 100 projects will create a fiscal space of only Rs20 billion, leading some to question the wisdom of abandoning such projects midstream. The Rs250 billion is 43% of the proposed allocation of Rs580 billion for fiscal year 2016, suggesting that the massive allocations for energy and CPEC projects will have adverse implications for other ongoing projects as well, not just those that have already been identified as ‘less important’. “We had choice either to enhance [the development budget] allocation to Rs758 billion to meet the financing requirements of the ongoing and new projects or put less important projects on the backburner,” said a planning ministry official. PM Nawaz Sharif chaired a meeting on the next year’s development budget aimed at finding the money for priority projects and to make a decision on the Planning Ministry’s request to enhance the proposed development budget to Rs758 billion from Finance Ministry’s ceiling of Rs580 billion. “No decision on increasing the proposed budget was taken in the meeting,” said a planning ministry official. A Finance Ministry official said that its hands were tied due to the bailout agreements with the IMF. Pakistan and the IMF have agreed to lower the budget deficit to 4.3% of the total size of the economy including 0.3% in additional space sought for security related spending. “The 4.3% deficit ceiling does not allow the government to jack up the development spending to Rs758 billion,” said the official. The planning minister made it clear that his ministry needed at least Rs250 billion for the priority energy and CPEC projects to make the eastern trade corridor route under CPEC operational by fiscal year 2018. Pakistan has to make the eastern route operational within the next two and half years to meet its commitments to China. “The government has taken a decision to put over 100 less important projects on hold, which have remained on low priority during the last five years,” said Iqbal. He admitted, however, that the decision would provide additional fiscal space of only Rs20 billion. Iqbal said that efforts are being made to enhance the Rs580 billion proposed development budget. To create additional fiscal space for CPEC projects, the prime minister on Thursday allowed the Planning Ministry to divert the funds from less important projects. “The PM approved moving unspent Public Sector Development Programme amounts of the current financial year, as well as the savings identified by various ministries to be allocated to priority projects to ensure their early completion,” said a handout issued by the PM’s Office. As of May 8, the federal government had released only Rs383 billion of the total development budget of Rs525 billion for this fiscal year. The allocations for the Planning Ministry and the National Highway Authority largely remain unutilised. Similarly, Rs32.5 billion, which were allocated for less-developed areas of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Sindh, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan remained unutilised so far. Iqbal said the challenge was to protect funding for highly important ongoing projects while at the same time making space for new schemes. He said the critical projects like the Lowari Tunnel, Kachi Kanal, construction of NA-85 road having immense importance for connectivity under CPEC. In addition, Jamshoro coal power projects, LNG projects, Diamer Basha dam, Dasu hydropower project and Neelum-Jhelum power projects will be fully funded in the coming financial year. For two 2,400MW LNG-fired power plants that will be setup in Punjab, the government would require Rs74 billion in the next fiscal year alone. The projects are critical to fulfill the PML-N’s promise to bring an end to power outages by 2018. Published in The Express Tribune, May 15th, 2015. Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter Get News Every Evening RELATED STORIES 09 May 201503-456China-Pak Economic Corridor: Will not let govt divert route: Bilour 04 May 2015news-in-brief-800x600-3414-2-2-3-2-2-2-3-2-2Pak-China Corridor: Foreign elements fanning doubts: Ranjha 10 May 2015islamabad-metro-bus-inp-2Metro bus SWMC starts cleaning-up corridor by TaboolaSponsored LinksYou May Like #1 WORST Exercise That Ages You Faster MAX Workouts Fitness Guide Does Your Mortgage Lender Deserve Your Loyalty? finder.com.au Have A Quiet Vacation In One Of These Cozy Beach Towns PerfectVacation Why are Billionaires like Warren Buffet Doubling Down on Israeli Investments? OurCrowd A New Solution That Stops Snoring My Snoring Solution You're Hired! As Long as You Don't Say This The Naked CEO Reader Comments (19) ALL COMMENTSREADER'S RECOMMENDATIONS Nadeem Usmani 17 hours ago Reply Question is whatever allocated to the power projects are judiciously utilized or not? Recommend12 KK Kool 17 hours ago Reply I fail to understand major projects are being installed in Punjab. For example: Largest solar power plant, metro train, LNG fired power plant etc etc. Probably, I am naive. Otherwise the reason is obvious. I hope the majority of cut will be on non-Punjab based projects. Please feel free to alienate other provinces for the sake of Punjab. Go ahead. Recommend44 Javed 16 hours ago Reply Why LNG powered plants in Punjab .? Isn’t it logical to set in coastal area of Sindh. This will save cost of gas transportation as well as waste heat disposal in Sea. Recommend31 oBSERVER 16 hours ago Reply Speaks volumes about the kind of planning done by this employee of Nawaz Sharif. This also speaks about the level of disinformation PML N resorts to for befooling the people. Recommend26 Fawad 16 hours ago Reply I do not understand why we are not allowed to question CPEC? We already have KKH which is under utilized. Makes no sense to spent another billions and trillions on same route. I think it had more to do with a marketing stunt than genuine problems faced by Pakistan. Recommend10 Pakistani 16 hours ago Reply Really sad news for democracy. No more Rs. 50 billion Metro bus projects. We are doomed. Recommend9 CPA Khan 15 hours ago Reply I think this is a bad deal. Recommend15 Zain 14 hours ago Reply @fawad Question CPEC, no way? If it was a waste of money China would be the first one to back out of it. By the way CPEC and KKH are gonna overlap eventually in GB. Recommend5 Salman Mazhar 14 hours ago Reply This artificial should have mentioned / named 100 “less important project” Recommend4 curious 14 hours ago Reply Punjab is the big brother in Pakistan while all other provinces of the country are Punjab’s colonies anyway so why is anyone surprised that Punjab will be getting all the major projects? Recommend16 Razik 11 hours ago Reply Punjab vs. Sindh vs. KP vs. Balochistan. Pakistanis are so racist. They are too busy fighting amongst themselves and will never come to an agreement on how to facilitate these Chinese investments. We can count on it! Recommend4 Eye opener 11 hours ago Reply Although I am not a supporter of PML-N at all but experienced of living in Different cities of Sindh (Karachi, Ghotki, Sakkar) and Punjab (Lahore, Jhang, Multan and Faisalabad). Comparatively Punjab people enjoys much better leadership and administration as compared to other provinces. I have personally seen highest level of corruption in sindh rural areas). Therefore if other province people are deprived of due to the leadership like Sindh CM and corrupt district level administration, then should not blame punjab for that. Their can’t be any discrimination on projects as per new mechanism of fund allocation from federal pool. As mentioned above Lawari tunnel, N-85 rd, Diamer Basha dam, Dasu hydropower project, jamshoro coal power are not in Punjab. (My fellow Pakistanis eyes should be open and unbiased) LNG project are in Punjab because there’s not a single well enough power source available in Punjab, no gas production (we can’t use CNG in our cars as Sindh and KPK people do), no hydral power like kpk and AJK (Other province people not agreed on kalabagh for no good reasons). Further its also very costly and have huge line losses to transport electricity to punjab from Sindh. Rail project of lahore has nothing to do with federal budget as its being managed through provincial will and budgets. Any other province has its right and resources to do. United we rise, divided we fall…! Recommend19 Eco 11 hours ago Reply If Nawaz and other Punjabis ruling over Pakistan had any shame they would have allowed a little development in provinces other than Punjab as well. But of course they have none. Just like the chance of sighting a unicorn is zero so is the likelihood of Punjabis giving rights to people who live in other provinces. Recommend5 Arslan 10 hours ago Reply @KK Kool Not that I’m a Punjabi jingoist, but the projects you were referring to were won by the government of Punjab. Solar Power Project: Funded from the budget of government of Punjab. After 18th amendment provinces have liberty and, frankly, sufficient funding to build their own mega projects. Government of Punjab spent her “own” development budget on this project. Metro Train: Shahbaz Sharif had to work his heart out, as “CM of Punjab”, to win the project funding from Chinese. Maybe Qaim Ali Shah, Dr. Baoch and Pervaiz Khattak can at least make an effort before complaining. LNG Power Plant: I’m not entirely aware of its funding origin. But, hey, eventually the electricity is going to be added in national grid, not some “Punjabi grid”. I do believe Punjab get some preference when PML(N) is in power, but guys just compare the efforts CM Punjab to his contemporaries. I guess instead of subduing to provincial prejudices, we should acknowledge that “non-Punjabi governments” are not working hard for their own development. Recommend15 Bewildered 10 hours ago Reply @Razik: “Punjab vs. Sindh vs. KP vs. Balochistan. Pakistanis are so racist.” Most of such comments are posted by Indian trolls working for Indian cyber-warfare cell. They post such comments using Pakistani names and then click ‘Recommend’ in large numbers in order to mislead and spread hatred among Pakistanis of different provinces. Recommend11 A J Khan 10 hours ago Reply Poverty is increasing by day in KPK. What ever little was left from the vagaries of terrorism is now being done by Nawaz Government. Their Development Projects have been shelved and their share in Federal Pool cheated. Wake up Pervez Khattak. Recommend3 Bewildered 10 hours ago Reply @KK Kool: “I fail to understand major projects are being installed in Punjab” Here are the province wise details of new and under construction electricity projects. Sindh 10,250 MW, KPK 9,410 MW, GB 11,917 MW, AJ&K 4,029 MW, Baluchistan 2,720 MW, and Punjab 5,020 MW (for list of individual projects check newspapers of 12th May). Lahore metro train is a project of the GO Punjab responsible for paying back all the loans, not the GO Pakistan. Recommend11 raider 8 hours ago Reply @Arslan: its shocking, your poppycock talks pivotal to Sharifs who are reigning Punjab with their 6th term and still even able to manage a metro during their 5th tenure in Punjab, your claptrap of Punjabi as hard working is Malafide underpinned not by any solid arrangements to neutralize any sane, majority of population living in Punjab(>56%) so will be more educated populace with more resources with the Punjab, even all seats of national assembly are not equivalent to Punjab if one sums up all other seats in Pakistan. same is true for provincial assemblies if one sum up all general seats of Punjab and other three provinces, even during tenure of ch. pervaz elahi same Punjab even performed much better and with higher GDP. peoples like you always look mega structures(i am not against these if actually constructed to produce results instead of directing at political ends in long run) even turning a deaf ear to its cost and time. have you gone through report that kpk had most improved education indicators even better than Punjab recently(Alif Ailaan’s district education rankings cite K-P as the province with the most improvement in education indicators), certainly you will never, peoples are not dumb enough to gauge that shahabz sharif and nawaz sharif are different individuals, they are same material drawn from same lot and seemingly Punjab and federation being run like their home, how one will acknowledge that shabaz shrif had win any project when his elder brother is pm with majority seats at federal level, came out of your shell Recommend6 S Qureshi 3 hours ago Reply ET please expose Indians by printing their IP location/ country or at least admin should look at the IP location before approving the comments. 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