- In the first phase, it was directed that two pilot projects at Gabd and Mond in Balochistan have to be executed
ISLAMABAD: A meeting of the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the Cabinet has approved an allocation of Rs300 million for establishment of three joint border markets in Balochistan. The ECC meeting presided over by Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin on Wednesday approved Commerce Ministry’s summary seeking approval for transfer of Rs300 million from the Ministry of Railways’ budget through a technical supplementary grant to the Commerce Division for establishment of joint border markets with Iran and Afghanistan.
Sources said the Commerce Ministry informed the meeting that the decision to establish joint border markets with Iran and Afghanistan was taken in a meeting presided over by Prime Minister Imran Khan on September 17, 2020. The meeting decided to establish eighteen border markets in total, with six border markets to be established solely in Balochistan along the Pak-Iran border.
In the first phase, however, it was directed that two pilot projects at Gabd and Mond in Balochistan have to be executed. Later on, during another meeting presided over by the prime minister on April 23, 2021, it was decided to add a border market at Chedgi-Kohak, District Panjgur, to the list of pilot projects as well. The meeting was further informed that during foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi’s visit to Iran on April 21, 2021, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed at Tehran between the foreign ministers of Pakistan and Iran to establish the pilot projects of border markets at Chedgi-Kohak, District Panjgur, Mand-Pishin, District Kech, and Gabd-Rimdari District Gwadar.
Subsequently, these projects were approved by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in May 25, 2021 and the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives requested the Railways Division to surrender an amount of Rs300.0 million in favour of the Commerce Division for these projects. The Railways Division surrendered an amount of Rs300 million from 2020-21 fiscal year allocation in favour of the Commerce Division.
The ECC was requested that a technical supplementary grant of Rs300 million from the PSDP allocation of Pakistan Railway may be approved in favour of the Commerce Division for establishment of joint border markets at Mand, District Kech; Gabd, District Gwadar; and Chedgi District Panjgur of Rs100 million for each projects. The ECC also approved a technical supplementary grant of Rs98.700 million to meet the requirements of Frontier Corps KP (South), DI Khan, under the Interior Division.
The ECC further approved technical supplementary grant of Rs25 million for Headquarters Pakistan Rangers, Islamabad, under the Interior Division. The ECC approved a technical supplementary grant amounting to Rs39.058 million to the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) for payment of salaries.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2021