CPEC Authority, at last

2032

PRESIDENT Dr Arif Alvi on Monday promulgated two ordinances to set up the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority and grant tax concessions to the Gwadar Port and its free zone. As the move came on the eve of the Prime Minister’s visit to China, it is widely believed that it was aimed at sending a strong message to Beijing that Pakistan was committed to continuation and strengthening of the CPEC.
This is, indeed, a welcome initiative as a dedicated, full-fledged and duly empowered platform would help implement all projects under the umbrella of CPEC in an effective and satisfactory manner besides visualizing new projects and programmes that could lead to acceleration in the pace of socio-economic development of the country. It is noteworthy that in the backdrop of widely held perception that bureaucracy is not taking the risks in view of NAB interventions, the new Authority will have complete immunity and no cases would be filed against its leadership. Given the kind of powers and immunity given to the Authority, it is hoped that it would become instrumental in picking up pace of implementation of projects especially when the Chinese side is willing to provide necessary finances. But the real benefits would only come if we are able to appoint truly professional and highly competent and motivated people as its chief executive and members and directors. The Government also erred in establishing the Authority through ordinance as discussion in Parliament would have led to consensus and removal of drawbacks, if any, in the law. In any case, the ordinance will have to be approved by the two houses and without consensus it would be difficult to get a nod from the Upper House. Relevant ministers and officials of the government should, therefore, interact with the Opposition and address their concerns so that we move forward in a unison manner on an issue that is deeply linked to progress and prosperity of the country.

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