ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi on Tuesday promulgated “The CPEC Authority Ordinance, 2019” for the establishment of the ‘China-Pakistan Economic Corridor Authority (CPECA)’.
The authority, which is aimed at accelerating the pace of CPEC-related activities, will find new drives of growth, unlock the potential of the interlinked production network and global value chains through regional and global connectivity.
Another ordinance which was passed alongside the promulgation of the CPECA ordinance a day earlier was “The Tax Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019”, which was aimed at granting tax concessions to the Gwadar port and its free zone.
The setting up of the CPEC Authority and extending tax concessions to Gwadar port in line with the Gwadar Port Concession Agreement was approved by the National Development Council, a 13-member body formed in June with an aim to set policies and strategies for development and “formulate and tailor policies to achieve accelerated economic growth”.
The development coincides with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s visit to China Beijing amid Kashmir issue and an economy heading south since his assumption of office in August last year. The tour will include talks on the progress of CPEC projects. Observers believe that, with the passing of those ordinances, the government intends to send a strong signal to Beijing that Islamabad is serious in implementing the multibillion-dollar strategic initiative.
In August last, the prime minister announced that his government was forming CPECA to ensure the timely completion of the CPEC projects. He had said that authority would “help ensure coordination among the departments concerned”.
“The completion of CPEC will not only benefit Pakistan and China but also the entire region,” the premier had said, adding that the timely completion of CPEC projects was the top-most priority of the government and CPEC is a clear example of joint efforts and partnership between Pakistan and China.
Some officials and observers have said momentum on CPEC projects is slowing, in part due to concerns over the size of Pakistan’s debt and struggling economy, which led Islamabad to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $6 billion bailout package in July.
However, Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakht Yar at a news conference on Sunday denied any slowdown in CPEC projects.
“(There’s) a narrative being built up that they have become slow; I reject it, it’s totally wrong,” he said.
The minister said: “There will be meaningful engagement on all aspects of Pakistan-China relations during the visit”, expressing the hope that it would take CPEC cooperation to new heights so that benefits of Pakistan’s economic progress could reach the people at the earliest.