CPEC takes major chunk of the development budget under budget 2018-19

Islamabad: The budget of 2018/19 has become one of the most crucial budgets in Pakistan’s history, considering the importance of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). It is estimated that around Rs 198 billion has been allocated for the development of projects which fall under CPEC. Under this budget, new projects are being initiated, including the development of Gwadar, which is said to take up an investment of Rs 137 billion. These numbers give an overview of the importance of CPEC in Pakistan in the future.

ISLAMABAD: The government has allocated Rs198 billion in the development budget for various projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) in next fiscal year 2018-19 including Rs25 billion for construction of western route from Burhan-Hakla on Motorway-1 to Dera Ismail Khan.

According to Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for 2018-19, new projects costing Rs835 billion will be added in the CPEC and its supporting projects. Thirty-one projects for development of Gwadar are part of the PSDP for 2018-19 with an estimated cost of Rs137 billion.

For modernising Mailine-1 (ML-1) phase-1 of Pakistan Railways and establishment of dry port at Havelian, the government has allocated just Rs5 billion against total estimated cost of Rs380.8 billion. The funding has been allocated mostly for ongoing projects in the PSDP for 2018-19.

The government has allocated funding for projects outside the CPEC as well which include Rs45 billion for Multan-Lahore (M3 section) of Karachi-Lahore Motorway. Out of total cost of Rs110.208 billion for completion of western route from Burhan to DI Khan, the government projected to utilise Rs52.392 billion up to June 30, 2018. Of remaining throw forward standing at Rs57.815 billion, the government allocated Rs25 billion in the budget 2018-19, so this project required at least another year and would be completed by 2019-20.

For construction of Karakorum Highway (KKH) Phase-II, Havelian-Thakot 118.057km as part of CPEC (revised), the government has allocated Rs25 billion. Out of Rs136.659 billion cost of this project, the expenditure projected to be incurred on it was Rs63.881 billion. Against total throw forward of Rs72.778 billion for completion of this project, the government allocated Rs25 billion.

For construction of KKH between Thakot-Raikot section including Tatapani Bypass under CPEC, the government made it part of new projects of the National Highway Authority (NHA) and allocated Rs1 billion against total estimated cost of Rs8.150 billion.

For five GD water desalination plants in Gwadar, the government has allocated Rs150 million in the budget against total estimated cost of Rs3.042 billion. For upgradation of 50-bed hospital to 300-bed hospital in Gwadar, the government allocated Rs100 million against total funding requirement of Rs9.9 billion.

An allocation of Rs6.035 billion has been made for construction of Eastbay Expressway under CPEC, Rs194 million has been allocated for feasibility study on construction of breakwater, Rs625.583 million for Pak-China Vocational Institute in Gwadar and Rs100 million for chapel dredging of berthing area for additional terminal against estimated total cost of Rs2.8 billion.