Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan Friday informed a Senate Standing Committee that the government had spent 18% extra funds for China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects under Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19.
“In previous fiscal year, the government released Rs 192 billion for CPEC projects against the total allocation of Rs 167.16 billion,” the Senate Standing Committee on Planning and Development was informed.
The meeting was held here in Parliament House under the chairmanship of Senator Agha Shahzaib Durrani.
While discussing the agenda regarding re-allocation of Rs 24 billion out of Rs 27 billion under the head of special initiatives of CPEC towards other programmes, Senator Talha Mehmood maintained that owing to extreme national importance, the CPEC projects must be given preference over others.
He questioned why and where an amount of Rs 24 billion was re-allocated.
Zafar Hassan said this amount was not specifically allocated for the CPEC projects. “Let me clarify that this amount of Rs 27 billion was placed in access pool of the PSDP which could have been utilized for CPEC projects on need basis”.
He informed that the said funds were diverted to the cabinet division and were utilized for small projects at grassroot level in less developed areas of the country.
He further clarified that the previous government had made a token allocation for more than 343 unapproved projects, implementation of which was not sighted in near future.
Therefore, he said in order to avoid extra expenditures due to delay in projects, “we have delayed most of such projects and the funds are diverted to other important projects”.
Meanwhile briefing the meeting, officials from Alternative Energy Development Board (AEDB) informed that the development of large scale grid alternative and renewable energy based power generation projects was being pursued through private investors.
The meeting was informed that as many as 24 wind power projects of 1233.37 MW cumulative capacity were operational and providing electricity to the grid besides six solar projects of 430 MW cumulative capacity were also operational.
Similarly, eight sugar mill based bagasse co-generation projects of 259.1 MW capacity were also operational.
Talking about Renewable Energy projects under CPEC, the officials informed that the CPEC framework included seven wind power projects of 398 MW cumulative capacity out of which five projects of 299 MW capacity had already been completed.
Likewise, the 1000 MW solar power projects in Quid-e-Azam Solar Park, Bahawalpur were also part of CPEC.
Further the meeting was informed that in order to ensure sustainable supplies and energy security, the government was focusing on exploiting the abundant potential of wind and solar resources for power generation whilst keeping in view the best possible mode for benefiting with declining prices of renewable energy.
The government has also formulated a new Alternative Renewable Energy (ARE) policy 2019 after the expiry of ARE policy 2006 with aim of establishing a robust framework for creating a conducive environment for the sustainable growth of ARE sector in Pakistan.