ISLAMABAD - The Ministry of Planning has said that no funds of the CPEC project have been diverted but the block allocation, which was going to lapse in June, has been shifted to SDGs.

The recent news published by local newspaper under the caption “Government diverted Rs 24 billion to Lawmakers Schemes” is misleading and deviation from the facts, said a spokesman of the Ministry of Planning.

While reviewing Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) 2018-19 in September, 2018, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms kept an allocation of Rs 27 billion for CPEC and Other Initiatives which was meant to undertake new initiatives mainly for the betterment of the population by improving quality of life. The sectors include education, health, clean drinking water, and sanitation, farm to market roads, gas, electricity and other interventions leading to achievement of SDGs goals, said the spokesman.

This programme is community driven and the execution will be governed by adhering to strict rules and managed by a Steering Committee. It is wrong to give an impression that funds have been diverted from CPEC projects to lawmakers’ schemes.

The allocations made for CPEC projects were as per requirement and demand of executing agencies for FY 2018-19. Despite rationalization of PSDP from Rs 800 billion to Rs 675 billion, allocations of on-going CPEC projects were protected.

The official spokesperson from Planning Ministry stated that SDGs Achievement Programme will help achieve SDGs since the programme is be responsive in nature and make intervention as per demand of the people of area/region. In fact from next financial year the government would start another programme to be called as Regional Equalization Programme in consultation with the provincial governments to ensure balance and equitable regional growth by starting programmes/projects in the less developed districts of the country.

The spokesman further clarified that there is no diversion of resources from CPEC related projects. The SDGs Achievement Programme is a tool to meet the demand of people on one hand and on the other it will fulfill the commitment made by Pakistan to the community of nations.

No funds of the CPEC project have been diverted but the block allocation which was going to lapse in June has been shifted. Block allocation is something on the discretion of the federal govt under some head and the head is CPEC and other projects. If this is not spent, it would lapse, better to utilise it for good.

The spokesman said that if any of the ministry needs extra funds for any of the projects of CPEC, those funds would be made available under urgency.