The News clarifies report on CPEC budget allocation
Date : 13-06-2019
The News has clarified a report that stated 44% of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) funding has been slashed. The funding is based on the number of projects scheduled to take place in the upcoming year, and are only allocated as per requirement. Overall, the scope of CPEC has been expanded with the inclusion of industrial development and socioeconomic development. New projects have also been introduced, both in Gwadar and Balochistan.
ISLAMABAD: Daily “The News” in its issue of June 12, 2019 has carried a news item titled “Budget freezes PSDP spending, CPEC allocation slashed by 44%”. The news item is not only contradictory but also misleading. Funds to the projects are allocated as per requirement and capacity to spend. In the previous years, projects under CPEC were heavily funded to ensure their timely completion.
A number of projects have been completed and other projects are at advanced stage of implementation and therefore need less funding in the culmination phase. Not only the ongoing projects have been given required funding, the scope of CPEC has been enhanced through inclusion of new sectors including projects for socio economic development, agriculture and industrial cooperation.
Certain new projects like Zhob-Kuchlak road, a part of western route, under CPEC costing Rs63 billion and provision of utilities to the SEZs, Evacuation and transmission of electricity from 300 MW power plants at Gwadar costing Rs17.4 billion have been financed. Accordingly, all requirements of funds for CPEC projects have been met. Similarly, it is clarified that the PSDP total size for FY 2019-20 is Rs701 billion and not Rs675 billion given in the news item. The overall size of National Outlay is Rs1863 billion. These amounts have been given in the PSDP 2019-20 issued by M/o Planning, Development and Reform and available on the website (www.pc.gov.pk). While allocations given for some of the programs are correct, the Govt. would be spending Rs 43 billion on higher education including some projects under knowledge economy.
It is further clarified that Government attaches highest priority for rehabilitation of merged districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa previously under FATA and has been allocated Rs73 billion to bring them at par with other regions of the country. In addition Rs33 billion has also been allocated for rehabilitation and resettlement of IDPs. The correspondent may like to contact the concerned officers of M/o PD&R for further clarification if so required.
Mehtab Haider adds: The government in its clarification issued on Wednesday that the funding requirement under CPEC reduced so they were meeting the requirements of the CPEC projects. This scribe had just analyzed the allocated funding of Rs110 billion for the next fiscal year against initial allocation of Rs188 billion made for CPEC projects on eve of last budget for 2017-18 announced by the previous government. Another fact this scribe wanted to highlight here that the government did not mention in its clarification that how much funding it had allocated for CPEC during the next fiscal year.
On point of increased allocation of federal PSDP, after NEC meeting the approved summary itself showed that the federal PSDP size stood at Rs675 billion. At the last moment, the government increased allocation of FATA after getting space of Army’s decision to freeze its budgetary allocation at level of outgoing fiscal year so the change of allocation was jacked up to Rs701 billion at the last moment. The summary was again moved to the cabinet to get approval of upward revised amount of PSDP from Rs675 billion to Rs701 billion. So this scribe stands by its story.