The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) has urged the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) to extend the refinance scheme for payment of wages and salaries launched to support employees and prevent layoffs due to the Covid-19 outbreak in Pakistan for one year. In a statement on Saturday, President FPCCI Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo appreciated the initiative of SBP; introducing schemes like salary payments, deferred loans, introduction of temporary economic refinance facility to resolve the cash flow problems of businessmen and industrialists. He added that these schemes helped many industrial and service oriented sectors to retain employees during Corona pandemic period. Under this scheme, SBP has released Rs. 238 billion to the private sector. While commenting on the refinance scheme for payment of wages and salaries, the FPCCI President added that the aim of this scheme is to prevent layoff by financing wages and salaries of employees (permanent, contractual, daily wagers as well as outsourced) for all kind of businesses except for government entities, public sector enterprises, autonomous bodies and deposit taking financial institutions. Since the companies that availed this credit facility through banks have not been recovered from devastating economic impact of covid-19, it would be advisable if SBP extend this scheme for one year more. CPEC projects: The Special Committee on the Project of China-Pak Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Friday discussed in detail CPEC Projects in Balochistan and directed the concerned authorities to complete all the ongoing projects on priority. The Committee showed concern regarding delay in projects and stressed the need for maintaining timelines if progress is to be made. The meeting also considered and adopted the second interim report and the final report of the committee on CPEC. The meeting was convened by Senator Sikander Mandhro and was attended by Senator Nuzhat Sadiq, Senator Muhammad Usman Khan Kakar, Senator Muhammad Akram, Senator Muhammad Azam Khan Swati, Senator Mir Kabeer Ahmed Muhammad Shahi, Senator Muhammad Yaqoob Khan Nasar and senior officers of the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives (PD&SI) & Board of Investment (BOI), along with all concerned. While discussing recommendations made in previous meetings; the committee took strong note of delayed responses from the ministries and departments. It also pointed out overlapping responsibilities; which was recognised as the main reason for slow progress of projects. Deliberating over the briefing made by the ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives regarding CPEC Projects in Balochistan; the committee was informed that four socio-economic projects have been completed so far, that included the Gwadar Smart City Master Plan, HUBCO Coal Power project, Surab-Hoshab Highway and Hoshab-Gwadar Motorway. The Committee while discussing details of these projects showed grave concern regarding the Surab- Hoshab Highway. It was asserted that the road had already collapsed and was incredibly unfit for heavy vehicles as would be in the case of CPEC. About the Hoshab-Gwadar Motorway; the committee questioned NHA for its discretion and said it was not a motorway and that the committee was being misled. Reviewing the HUBCO Coal Power Project the Committee was of the view that in most cases such installations are designed to use imported raw material. It asserted that modifications must be made to use indigenous raw material that would conserve foreign exchange, essential for economic stability. The Committee rejected the idea of barricading Gwadar and said that it was a ploy to dislocate the local population. It also objected to the bifurcation of Balochistan on the basis of North and South. Ongoing projects that were discussed included the New Gwadar International Airport, Eastbay Expressway, ML-4 Railway Project from Gwadar to Sukkur via Basima and Fresh Water Supply and Treatment Plants. Development of ML-4, was termed a strategy to cut off Gwadar from the rest of Balochistan. The committee showed immense dissatisfaction with the management of the projects and the briefing given by the Ministry of Planning Development and Special Initiatives. The convener also showed displeasure due to non-availability of the senior officers of the Ministry and the concerned departments. Therefore, the committee took serious notice and decided to defer the remaining agenda item, as any further discussion on these projects would be a waste of time.