Gwadar Port transfer to China approved by Cabinet: IP gas project gets formal go-ahead
The federal cabinet on Wednesday formally approved the signing of agreement to construct Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline and constituted a ministerial committee to explore avenues for arranging funds worth $1.5 billion for the project.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2013
Briefing media persons after the Cabinet meeting, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said that the meeting, which was presided over by the Prime Minister, approved the signing of the agreement with Iran on the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) work along with financing for the Iran-Pakistan Gas Pipeline Project (Pakistan Segment).
He said that a ministerial committee, comprising Ministers for Finance, Law, Petroleum and National Resources and the Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, was also constituted to analyse the project and determine ways to arrange funding for the project.
Kaira said that the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline project would help minimise energy problems. In reply to a question, he said that Pakistan would arrange $1.5 billion funding for the project. The Minister also dispelled the impression that the construction of pipeline had been completed on the Iranian side, saying that Iran had not yet completed construction of gas pipeline on its side. To a question about Strategic Trade Policy Framework 2012-15 (STPF-2012-15), the Minister said that the cabinet had granted approval to the trade policy and a detailed briefing would be given by senior officials of the commerce ministry on Thursday (today) to explain various dimensions of the policy.
Kaira said that the federal cabinet also approved the transfer of Port of Singapore Authority shares to China Overseas holding company for early completion of the Gwadar port project. He stated that the Cabinet also accorded permission to allow the transfer of concession agreement of the Gwadar Port from the Port of Singapore Authority (PSA) to the China Overseas Port Holding Limited to amend the concession agreement and SRO's accordingly for early completion of the Port.
The Federal Cabinet also approved Ombudsman Institutional Reforms Bill 2013 subject to vetting by the law ministry designed for empowering the federal ombudsman. The minister said it would be mandatory for all the public sector and public funded organisations to comply with orders of the federal ombudsman within 15 days. The proposed legislation for granting financial and administrative autonomy to Ombudsman was aimed at providing justice to the common man.
The Cabinet also approved for starting negotiation on an MoU between the Philippines and Pakistan for defence co-operation. The Cabinet also approved the starting of negotiation on the draft of an MoU between the governments of Pakistan and the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland for enhancing co-operation and co-ordination in the field of narcotics control.
Replying to questions, Kaira said that five members committee would try to develop a consensus among all stakeholders within eight to 10 days regarding dissolution of assemblies and for holding of elections on National Assembly and provincial assembly seats on the same day to save expenditure. The Minister claimed that the government had not backed off from implementing the Charter of Democracy (CoD). He acknowledged the increase in inflation, but claimed that people's salaries had also been raised proportionately.