Govt to Introduce New Law to Fast-Track CPEC Projects

According to sources, the Federal government is all set to introduce a new law in order to fast-track China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Projects.

The federal cabinet is likely to approve the draft law before presenting it to the National Assembly, as the Cabinet Committee on the disposal of the Legislative Cases (CLCC) has already approved the newly-drafted law.

Sources said, “Following the expiry of the CPEC Authority Ordinance 2019, the government has prepared a fresh draft of CPEC Authority Bill 2020 to amicably deal with issues pertaining to CPEC Authority and to speed up the pace of CPEC projects which are important for the economic development of the country.”

According to CPEC Authority Ordinance 2019, CPEC Authority was to be created for coordination, evaluation and monitoring of projects related to CPEC all over the country. The CPEC authority was dissolved after the expiration of the ordinance on 31st May of this year.

According to the new proposed law, the position of chief executive officer of CPEC Authority is set to be abolished, the decision-making power of the CPEC Authority chairman is set to be reduced and CPEC Authority’s power to constitute CPEC Business Council is also set to be abolished.

CPEC Authority decisions will be taken by the majority of the members, while the quorum for the meeting will be two-thirds of the total members.

The law also states “The authority may call for any pertinent information, required by it from any person, institution or body that is or has been involved directly or indirectly in any CPEC-related activity, while any person or its authorized officer will be bound to provide this information within the period prescribed by the authority or such officer.”

According to the draft law, a single line budget will be provided to the authority and the principal accounting officer of the authority will be the chairperson.

The budget committee consisting of three members will review the budget prepared by the authority. Two members of the Budget Committee will be nominated by CPEC authority, while one member will be appointed by the administrative authority.

The accounts of the authority will be audited annually by an independent chartered accountant firm.

There will also be a CPEC Business Council, which will be notified by the Board of Investment in matters regarding the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the National Development and Reforms Commission of China and Pakistan’s Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives.