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August 23, 2019

Govt all set to establish CPEC Authority

Top Story

August 23, 2019

ISLAMABAD: With stoppage of salaries of about four dozen contracting employees of CPEC Secretariat for transition period, the government is all set to establish a permanent China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority with portfolio of chairman, 2 executive directors, 6 members and 9 policy heads at hefty pay and package of MP-1 scales.

Top official sources confirmed to The News on Thursday that different names are under consideration at the top levels to appoint as chairman of this upcoming CPEC Authority and top of them is former ambassador of Pakistan to China Masood Khalid who had played a key role in finalising existing shape of CPEC between the two countries.

Younas Dagha, a prestigious civil servant is also under consideration for this top slot at CPEC Authority as he was unceremoniously removed the position of Secretary Finance by the PTI-led government when he refused to succumb before the pressure of the IMF before striking agreement.

It is to be noted that CPEC Secretariat Project Director Hasan Daud has resigned from his post.

The government is in hurry to establish CPEC Authority as early as possible to remove this perception that the CPEC projects are going to slow down in the aftermath of signing IMF package of $6 billion.

Secondly, the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the CPEC is expected to meet Islamabad in October so Islamabad wants to demonstrate its political will before Beijing that the long term relations with China will not abandoned at any cost. The CPEC Authority which is going to be established through presidential ordinance will also hire supporting staff of 70 to 80. The existing staff of CPEC Secretariat as the staff of the CPEC Center of Excellence was also merged into it, were currently facing difficult situation as their salaries were stopped. Some of the staff members had not got salaries for last five months. After establishment of CPEC Authority, the bill would be tabled before the Parliament to make it permanent institution.

The government has also convened Cabinet Committee on CPEC meeting on coming Monday (August 26, 2019) in order to finalise agenda of upcoming JCC meeting of CPEC and incentive package for Special Economic Zones (SEZs). One top delegation of China’s NDRC is coming to visit Pakistan this week for discussing agenda of upcoming JCC meeting and next week joint working group on Gwadar will also meet-up for finalising development projects of Gwadar at accelerated pace. The new Gwadar airport will be constructed with grant money of Rs22 billion. Regarding organisational structure of the upcoming CPEC Authority, the government has proposed chairman of the Authority and CPEC Business Council to run the overall affairs of the CPEC under one umbrella. There will be two executive directors including one ED on Coordination and second ED on Research.

Under ED on Coordination, there will be 6 members including member energy, member transport/infrastructure, member investment/industries, member socio economic/agriculture, member financial affairs and member media.

Under Executive Director Research, there will be head of policy infrastructure, development and urban planning, head of policy on financing and financial sector, head of policy on socio-economic, head of policy on human resource and job generation, head of policy on Gwadar/maritime affairs, head of policy on regional connectivity, head of agriculture, head of policy on trade and industry and head of oil and gas. The CPEC Authority will also hire 70 to 80 supporting staff. The members and head of wings will be hired at MP-1 scale with monthly remuneration of Rs0.5 to 0.7 million per month.

The CPEC Secretariat had coordinated to launch and accomplish early harvest projects under CPEC and materialised multibillion projects of energy and infrastructure. It is expected that upcoming CPEC Authority will increase CPEC investments in months and years ahead.

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