Lahore: Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht said that research, knowledge and acquisition of technology should be given top priority instead of investing in projects from China under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in Punjab.
Chairing the maiden meeting of the Cabinet Committee constituted by the Chief Minister on CPEC projects in Punjab, the minister observed that the Chinese experience in industry, agriculture and advanced technology could ensure an increase in production.
The meeting was attended by Provincial Minister for Industry and Commerce Mian Aslam Iqbal, Provincial Minister for Energy Dr Akhtar Malik, Provincial Minister for Transport Jahanzeb Khan Kachchi, Chairman Planning and Development Board Sheikh Hamid Yaqoob, Chief Economist Nabil Tahir and secretaries of relevant departments.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the progress of ongoing projects under CPEC projects in Punjab and to finalize the newly proposed projects for the CPEC by the federal government constituted Joint Working Group.
Further, the energy department should focus on meeting the energy needs of the province instead of national level power plants. The main function of the department should be supplying electricity to industrial zones, educational institutions, hospitals and vassals at reasonable rates, he said.
The formation of a suitable platform with the federation for resolving tariff-related issues is a matter of urgency. The minister instructed giving representation to the public health engineering in the CPEC project.
All departments should highlight the usefulness of the proposed schemes for CPEC. It should be made clear to the development partners what kind of assistance the Punjab government needs from them so that the projects can be continued uninterruptedly in the future, he added.
On behalf of the Chairman planning and Board, Chief Economist Nabil Tahir briefed the meeting on the aims and objectives of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC Projects and said that the committee has a strategy for planning, implementing and monitoring CPEC projects.
In addition, it will oversee all relevant activities for CPEC, including approval of projects and implementation of projects. The CPEC Committee was given a detailed briefing on the ongoing and proposed project of the Department of Industry, Agriculture, Transport, Energy and Livestock.
The committee unanimously approved Taunsa Hydropower Project Taunsa Barrage, two projects for construction of communication roads of the Communications Department.
While reviewing the progress of ongoing projects, the Minister directed the Secretary Transport to make a comprehensive plan to increase the number of passengers in the Orange Line Metro train.
The Energy Department should ensure coordination with the federation for power supply in industrial zones. Feasibility reports of all projects should be prepared and their usefulness should be highlighted.
A representative of the Chairman CPEC Authority and the Joint Working Group should also be invited to the next meeting. The Planning and Development Board should improve coordination with the CPEC Authority, the minister instructed.
Chairman Planning and Development Board Sheikh Hamid Yaqoob directed all concerned departments to expedite the feasibility reports of the projects approved in the committee and work on ongoing projects. The P&D Board will ensure the provision of funds. He stressed the need for the industry department to clarify issues related to the preparation of business models for business parks and land acquisition.