ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal Friday said that the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) failed to complete the projects under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by the dates agreed between the Chinese side and PMLN government.
Addressing media here the minister said that the PMLN government had set the target for completion of all the nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) identified under CPEC, by 2025.
However, he added that so far the PTI government could start work on only four out of nine SEZs that too have not been completed yet while work on the remaining five SEZs has not initiated yet.
He said according to the five years’ plan (2020-25), the government was to focus only industrial development under CPEC and it was expected that during that period some $40 billion foreign investment would be poured in to the country’s SEZs.
“Imran Khan’s government has put irreversible loss to CPEC that is the project of national interest,” he said adding that the coalition government was committed to revive the mega project.
Ahsan Iqbal said the previous government of PTI had played havoc with the country’s economy as the country’s debt and the inflation reached to record high levels. Every family’s domestic budget, he said had disturbed during that period.
He said despite the fact that Imran Khan was the most powerful Prime Minister, he could not manage the country on every front special in economy and foreign diplomacy.
“All institutions were supporting him, he had government in three provinces but despite that he failed to deliver,” Ahsan Iqbal said.
He said before the PTI government, the country owed Rs 25000 billion worth of loans, but during three years and nine months’ tenure of the PTI, the country was indebted with additional Rs 20,000 billion loans.
He highlighted that the development budget of the country had been cut to half from Rs 1000 billion to only Rs 500 billion.
During that period the important projects of national level such as education and health were ignored in the federal Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) but only small projects with less importance were promoted during that tenure.
He said the ML-1 railway project under CPEC could also not be initiated in four years which was a game changer project in Pakistan railway.
The minister said in 2018, Pakistan did not import sugar, cotton, and wheat but rather the country was used to produce these commodities in sufficient amount to meet the domestic needs. But he said now the country is importing all these commodities. “This year, we have wheat shortage of two million tons which would be imported to meet the domestic needs,” he added.
He asked Imran Khan to show a sense of responsibility and if wants early elections, then he would have to sit in the National Assembly’s electoral reforms committee to ensure that the process should be completed in time and also to ensure that the next elections should be held free, fair and transparent.