ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday said his forthcoming visit to China would be monumental as he would be entering into contracts with Chinese companies for $ 45 billion projects, including Pak-China Economic Corridor, which would revolutionise the infrastructure and energy availability.

While presiding over the cabinet meeting convened to review the second phase of the ministers’ performance, the PM said of these $ 45 billion, $ 34 billion would be spent on the power sector while $ 11 billion would be earmarked for infrastructure.

The federal cabinet condemned the recent gruesome incident of lynching a Christian couple in Kasur and resolved to bring the perpetrators to book. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif expressed the resolve that the government would fully monitor the issue and ensure that the culprits involved in this incident were punished.

The PM asked the Ministry of Planning and Development to prioritise reforms in a bid to address major issues at first in public-sector departments. He lauded the performance of the Ministry of Planning and Development and asked it to come up with a series of new reforms aimed at enhancing efficiency of public-service departments and remove the bottlenecks.

The prime minister also reviewed the communication and development projects mentioned by Ahsan Iqbal and said the government was committed to completing all these on time remaining within the allocated budgets.

The minister said there would be no cost escalation of the projects related to power, communications, roads, motorways, Gwadar Port and others. He said the US $ 150 billion target of exports under the Vision 2025 could be easily met if all development projects were completed on time.

On the overbilling, the PM directed Water and Power Minister Khawaja Asif to take all steps to resolve the issue and provide relief to consumers.

Khawaja Asif told the PM that the ministry was adopting a concise mechanism to resolve the overbilling issue, adding it would also point out the basic reason for the overbilling.The PM directed him to bring the elements involved in overbilling to justice and make all-out efforts to address consumers’ complaints.

During the meeting, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique stated that major initiatives, including de-politicization, structural reforms at the organisational level, establishment of legal and IT directorates and decentralisation of powers, had been undertaken by his ministry.

The minister told the cabinet that in the freight sector, a freight company for new business avenues like coal power plants had been established. Moreover, Pakistan Railways had restored container trains for dry ports and inland container terminals, he added.

Spokesman for the prime minister, Dr Musadik Malik, briefing media persons on the meeting, said the government had initiated the process of self-accountability to provide maximum relief to the people, particularly the poor segment of the society.He said that in future the yardstick to judge performance of any ministry would be the steps it had taken to facilitate the general public. He stated the prime minister had directed the Planning Ministry to shift the tilt from debt servicing to development projects and exports to increase the country’s foreign exchange reserves.

The PM lauded the Railways Ministry’s decision to reduce train fares even before decrease in petroleum prices to provide relief to the people.

To a question about the overbilling of electricity, Dr Musadik Malik said three independent audit firms were investigating the issue systematically and after the report of the audit committee responsibility would be fixed. To a question about increase in electricity prices, he said 68 percent consumers were consuming less than 200MW electricity per month and they had not been overburdened.

He said that Pakistan and China would sign various development projects worth $ 45 billion during the prime minister’s visit to China. Under these projects special focus would be on Balochistan where Gwadar Port, Gwadar city and a road from Khuzdar to Gwadar would be constructed with the Chinese assistance, he asserted.