ISLAMABAD, (APP): Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal Thursday informed the Senate that
38 sites have been identified by provincial governments for establishing Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
During Question Hour in the House, the minister said that out of which nine sites were prioritized and shortlisted for inclusion in China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) at the 6th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting. He said the government will provide infrastructure commitment for roads, electricity, gas, water, sewerage, waste water treatment, communications, security, hospital, firefighting and schools as
per Rule 14 of Special Economic Zones Rules.
To a question, the minister said the role of the Planning, Development and Reform Division is to facilitate the implementation of the projects. If there are any delays in project implementation, the same are pointed out to the sponsoring ministry to remove the bottlenecks and speed up project implementation. Ahsan Iqbal said that in case of financial irregularities, monitoring section points out the irregularities and recommends
inquiry to the sponsoring ministry.
He said the responsibilities for transparent and timely implementation of the projects rests with the sponsoring ministry. If there are any irregularities or delays, these are explicitly communicated to the Principal Accounting Officers of the concerned ministries. The minister said that Ministry of Planning and Development can only recommend to PAOs the relevant cases but cannot, as per the Rules of Business, initiate an inquiry. Ahsan Iqbal said to take action as result of inquiry against officials is also the responsibility of the concerned Principal Accounting Officer (PAO) of the Ministry.
He said the Ministry plays its role by controlling and restricting the releases to non-performing projects on the basis of physical and financial progress so that the ministries streamline their project implementation process. Answering a supplementary question, the minister said earlier there had been a trend of under-funding the projects resulting in delay in completion of projects. “By this way, the projects that had to be completed within three years, used to take ten years in many cases. Our government has discouraged this trend.”
He said the government has also revived some sick projects of the previous government like Kacchi Canal
and efforts are also being made to improve performance of the institutions. To another question about water supply in Balochistan, the minister said, various projects are under progress under the CPEC while measures are underway for resolving water problem in the province as he specifically mentioned
to Patt Feeder Canal project. He said some projects that were started prior to CPEC,
have now been included in this project.