Pakistan’s Finance Ministry has refused to support a supplementary grant of another PKR 50 billion for the power projects established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The country’s Power Division had sent a summary to the Finance Ministry in this regard for comments, Business Recorder reported citing sources.

Finance Division does not support the proposal for a supplementary grant of another PKR 50 billion in view of tight fiscal space arising and reduced rates of consumer end electricity tariff.

According to Business Recorder, the cash strapped Power Division in the country has sought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s help to recover PKR 111 billion from provinces.

The Pakistani publication said Power Division has initiated a recovery campaign to enhance recoveries of Discos to improve their financial health and to enable them to pay off power purchase costs to avert the accumulation of supplementary charges.

This comes as China is halting some CPEC projects over differences in cost estimations and contractual disputes with Pakistan and the issue of overdue payments owed to Chinese independent power producers (IPPs) is near a breaking point.

Beijing is reluctant to pump in new funds under the CPEC arrangement until problems faced by Chinese investors are resolved and previous CPEC-related agreements are fully honoured by Pakistan, Asia Times reported.

Experts have pointed out that China is snaring Pakistan into the Belt of Road Initiative (BRI) debt trap with high-interest rates, stiff repayment terms and lack of transparency.

People in the Pakistan Occupied Gilgit-Baltistan are holding protests against Pakistan as large chunks of areas belonging to villages have been given to the army for setting up various infrastructures for their new security unit created for the CPEC project.

People are also raising their voices against the Pakistani government for forcibly taking away the ancestral lands of the locals and leasing them out to private contractors working with the Pakistani army. The people have taken to the streets demanding the revocation of licenses given to the private contractors, media reports said.

During the rally, the protesters said their region is a disputed territory and Pakistan was an illegal occupier and hence had no right to lease out their natural resources without the consent of the local communities.

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