Senate body directs resolution of Chinese investors’ issues on priority
ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development and Special Initiatives has directed the relevant authorities to address all the issues being faced by the Chinese investors working especially under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.
The meeting held under the chairmanship of Senator Saleem Mandviwalla, discussed in detail the issues being faced by the Chinese investors in Pakistan and the measures taken, in this regard.
The committee chairman as in its previous meeting inquired about the forum on which the issue of the Chinese investors should be taken. “There should be a remedy at the government level,” he said.
The Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives secretary informed the committee that a Pak-China Committee has been constituted with the objective to remove the hurdles in the finalisation and execution of the projects.
The constituency of the CPEC Authority, headed by a chairman is also an apt authority to redress the issues being faced by the Chinese investors, he added.
The committee chairman expressed dismay over the fact that it is a general observation that the committees are non-effective and do not produce results in yes or no.
“There should be a focal person to communicate the issues between the relevant authorities and investors,” Mandviwalla added.
The committee secretary said that the CPEC Authority chairman is the right person to bring in the concerns of the Chinese investors to further address the issues through the committee.
A comprehensive briefing by the Pakistan Institute of Development Economics (PIDE) on their roles, functions and performance was also received by the committee.
The PIDE officials briefed the committee that it is the first Asian Think Tank since 1957 initiated by the US AID for long-term planning.
PIDE aims for research, projects and surveys, academic programmes and executive training through active and continuous debate on key issues, extensive engagements with policymakers, practitioners, professionals, academia and development partners.
The officials informed the committee that the mode of communication of PIDE is through webinars/seminars, research videos and newspaper articles, etc.
There are a number of PIDE’s research agendas, including climate change, social protection health and education.
The officials of the PIDE said 16 per cent of the uneducated population is unemployed, while among the educated population 24 per cent of the graduates are jobless, of which 40 per cent are girls.
It was noted that these figures are in contrast to the figures given by the government. The officials of PIDE also elaborated that there are also hidden numbers such as those who only take admission in MPhil and PHD programmes because they do not have employment opportunities.
“Some 80 per cent of [the] students are enrolling themselves because of unemployment and this number doesn’t come in any count,” they said.
“Our aim is to provide employment opportunities to 120 million youth/graduates of the country.”
The committee chairman sought report on the factual statistics regarding the number of youth, unemployment, etc, which the committee can actually rely upon to take concrete decisions.
The PIDE in their research has proposed laws for hawkers and to also grant them licence, which will meet 20 to 30 million employments in the country.
The PIDE in their recent publications also proposed reform for the civil services, on their incentives and costs. According to the publication the total cost on a civil servant is Rs1.1 million.
The PIDE also made research on the economic cost of tobacco-induced diseases in Pakistan, saying that the cost of cigarettes is the least in Pakistan, compared globally and the health cost is three-times the revenue generated by it.
The PIDE officials also debated on the criteria through which the universities are registered in Pakistan. It was informed that unlike world-wide practice of enlisting of universities through chatters, Pakistan approves universities through a bill introduced by the Higher Education Commission (HEC), which has lacunas such as a university can only be approved if it has 13 acres of land, which does not justify a requirement of establishing a university at the international level.
The PIDE officials apprised the committee that in Islamabad there are 40 training institutes and the similar number of universities.
They also said the total budget for the PIDE is Rs300 million, of which more than 90 per cent goes into the salaries of the employees.
The committee chairman sought report on the so far implementation of the research being conducted by PIDE along with its outcome.
He also sought proposed reform of the PIDE for a way forward, to be discussed in the next meeting.
The meeting was attended by senators Dost Muhammad Khan, Ejaz Ahmad Chaudhry, Muhammad Tahir Bizinjo, Sardar Muhammad Shafiq Tareen and Hidayat Ullah.
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