Pakistan has allocated 180 billion rupees ($1.71 billion) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its projects during the 2017-18 financial year which will begin on July 1.

The country’s Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who presented the Rs 4,757 billion budget on Friday, mentioned several CPEC projects in his speech in parliament, Xinhua news agency reported.

He told the National Assembly that the development of Gwadar city in Balochistan province was “fundamental to development of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor”.

“A comprehensive plan is being implemented for the road link networks, expansion and modernisation of the airport, and development of the area. Thirty one projects for development of Gwadar are provided in 2017-2018 budget which include implementation of Gwadar master plan, New Gwadar international airport, a 200-bed hospital, 200 MW power generation, and desalination plant,” he said.

“CPEC projects would enter into their third year of implementation during 2017-2018,” the minister said.

He said imports have been recorded at $37.8 billion during July-April, showing an upward trajectory compared to the same period last year.

“This vibrancy in imports is attributable to over 40% increase in capital machinery, industrial raw material and petroleum products and the increased investment under the CPEC projects focused on energy and infrastructure sectors. All of this augurs well for Pakistan’s economy in the near future,” Dar said.

Pakistan’s defence expenditure in the next financial year will be around 7% higher than it was in the outgoing year at Rs 920.2 billion.

The minister said Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves currently stand at Rs 16 billion despite a larger than expected trade deficit, mainly due to increased import of capital goods.

First Published | 27 May 2017 6:36 PM
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