The National Development Council (NDC) on Thursday approved, in principle, the constitution of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects. The maiden meeting of the NDC chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed development plan of Balochistan, master plan of Gwadar, creation of CPEC Authority and Accelerated Development Plan 2019-20 for erstwhile FATA/merged districts.
A detailed presentation was made on the development plan of Balochistan that included measures to further improve security environment in the province especially the border management, improving the writ of state and development of critical sectors for socio-economic betterment of the people of province.
The meeting was informed that the past neglect of the province, lack of connectivity and economic integration, security challenges and underutilisation and mismanagement of resources contributed towards poverty in the province. A study of utilisation of development budget for past 08 years revealed that out of total expenditure made on the development of the province, approximately 45% were wasted due to pilferage. The meeting decided that every possible effort shall be made to enhance annual development spending of the province over the next 09 years, enabling the province to overcome development challenges, reduce budget deficit and enhance its revenue- generation capacity. Discussing various sectoral development plans, the meeting was informed that communication and infrastructure projects such as completion of M-8 Motorway project, construction of 819 km Chaman-Quetta-Karachi Motorway, Basima-Khuzdar Road and 124 km Awaran-Bela Road project would significantly improve connectivity and communication infrastructure in the province.
On development of coastal areas of the province, the forum approved, in principle, undertaking feasibility studies for port at Gaddani and establishment of special economic zone at Hub.
The forum also approved constitution of National Coastal Development Authority for development of tourist resorts and promoting tourism along the coastal areas of the province including Jiwani, Gwadar, Pasni, Makola, Ormara, Kund Malir, Hingol Park and Miani Hor. On development of ports, the forum endorsed the proposal for development of 08 landing sites and promoting local boat industry including provision of 10,000 green boats. On strategy for development of mines and mineral resources of the province, the forum was informed that the province will be divided into four zones (Chagai Zone, Quetta-Duki Zone, Khuzdar-Lasbella Zone and Coastal Zone) and appropriate model will be put in place to encourage private investment in large-scale mining.
On development of oil & gas sector, the forum was apprised of efforts being made to develop 4 new blocks i.e. Block-28, Zhob, Zorgarh, Jandran & Kohlu for exploration, in addition to carrying out seismic survey at 30 onshore sites. The meeting was also briefed about various plans for improvement of agriculture and water management in the province.
The forum approved, in principle, constitution of CPEC Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects. Discussing development of Gwadar and master plan of the city, the forum approved, in principle, the conceptual framework of Gwadar Special Economic District.
The forum also discussed, in detail, accelerated ten-year development plan for erstwhile FATA. The forum reiterated the commitment of the federal government to ensure availability of allocated funds, timely releases and special dispensation for procurement of specialised execution agencies (NESPAK, FWO, NHA) and facilitation for screened NGOs to operate within merged areas for smooth and uninterrupted development of the merged areas. The meeting was attended by foreign minister, minister for planning, adviser on commerce, adviser on finance, chief of army staff (COAS), chief minister KPK, chief minister Balochistan, SAPM on information & broadcasting, finance minister KP, MNA Asad Umar, commander southern command, foreign secretary, secretary finance, deputy chairman Planning Commission and others.