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National Assembly Approves CPEC Authority Bill

THE National Assembly (NA) on Monday passed the China- Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Bill 2020. The lower house of the parliament met under the chairmanship of Speaker Asad Qaiser.

The house passed three bills in the session. These were the CPEC Authority Bill, 2020, the Public-Private Partnership Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2020 and the Pakistan Single Window Bill, 2020.

The National Metrology Institute of Pakistan Bill, 2021 and the Pakistan Ordnance Factories Board (Amendment) Bill, 2021, were also introduced in the house. Furthermore, “The Federal Medical Teaching Institutes, Ordinances, 2020, and the Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance, 2020, were laid before the House.

Parliamentary Affairs Adviser Dr Babar Awan introduced the CPEC Authority Bill, 2020, and the Public-Private Partnership Authority Bill, 2020, while Parliamentary Secretary for Finance Zain Qureshi tabled the Pakistan One-Window Bill, 2020.

According to the CPEC Authority Bill, 2020, the CPEC Authority will comprise a chairperson, executive director operations, and six other members. The chairperson would be appointed for a period of four years and the time duration of the job could be extended for another four-year term.

The CPEC Authority Bill, 2020, was tabled in the NA in October 2020 by Adviser to PM on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan. The bill was referred to the relevant standing committees of the lower house of parliament. Later the speaker allowed initiation of the debate on the presidential address to the parliament.

Earlier during the Question Hour, the house was informed that the total debt of Pakistan was Rs21,400 billion in 2016-17 which increased to Rs36,900 billion by September 2020. After the Question Hour, the legislative process began, but the opposition members rose from their seats and started raising slogans.

Treasury bench member Alia Hamza said that a non-political honourable woman was criticized and ridiculed by an occupation mafia belonging to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). She added that the privilege of the house was violated by the occupation mafia. While she was

speaking, the speaker adjourned the sitting till Tuesday. Due to the opposition’s protest, debate on the Pakistan People’s Party’s (PPP) adjournment motion on electricity tariff hike could not take place.

It is pertinent to mention here that in October 2019, President Dr Arif Alvi promulgated an ordinance for the establishment of the CPEC Authority, which later expired after completing its three-month tenure. It aimed at accelerating the pace of CPEC related activities, finding new drivers of growth, unlocking the potential of the interlinked production network and global value chains through regional and global connectivity

The government decided to issue an ordinance as both the houses of the Parliament, the National Assembly and the Senate, were not in session. According to the text of the ordinance, the Prime Minister will appoint the chairperson, executive directors and members of the CPEC authority for a tenure of four years. The authority will comprise 10 members.

The chief executive of the authority will be a grade-20 government officer. The CPEC body having the office in the federal capital will determine further cooperation between Pakistan and China in various sectors. It will also coordinate in the Joint Working Group, according to the text of the legislation.

The body will also coordinate between provinces and ministries for the CPEC projects and will take decisions with the majority of the members, the text said. The CPEC authority will work in accordance with the memorandum of understanding signed between Pakistan and China.