CPEC committee to discuss ML-1 financing with China

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ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar on Monday chaired the Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to review the progress made on various projects under the CPEC framework.

The meeting was attended by Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, Maritime Affairs Minister Syed Ali Zaidi, Adviser to PM on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Jahanzeb Khan and Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan.

The planning secretary on the occasion gave a detailed presentation to the participants on various projects under the CPEC framework. The committee decided to commence financing discussions on Main Line-1 (ML-1) with China in order to finalise the mode and PC-1 of the project.

The minister reiterated that ML-1 was an important project under CPEC portfolio and that the incumbent government was committed to executing it on a fast-track basis.

“CPEC is now entering into a new phase with the incorporation of additional development areas. For this purpose, there is a need for an integrated entity in the form of CPEC Authority,” he stated.

The meeting decided to present the draft act of the CPEC Authority before the federal cabinet for approval.

On Rashakai Special Economic Zone, the meeting was informed that negotiations on a ‘development agreement’ with China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) were in the final stage.

The committee directed the officials concerned to ensure the provision of utilities to Rashakai SEZ on a priority basis so that the groundbreaking could be performed next month.

The planning minister said that the government was committed to providing incentives to all SEZs, including 100pc repatriation of profits.

The committee also decided to table the ‘land use plan’ for Gwadar Smart City before the federal cabinet after incorporating recommendations of the Balochistan government.

Energy projects, including 300MW Gwadar Coal Power Plant, 1,124MW Kohala Hydropower Project and Thar coal projects, and infrastructure projects, including Multan-Sukkur Motorway and Orange Line Train project, were also deliberated upon during the meeting.

It was apprised that the Multan-Sukkur Motorway would become operational soon, while civil works on the Orange Line Train Project would be completed by the end of this year.

The planning minister further emphasised that all stakeholders should resolve the pending issues pertaining to CPEC projects at the earliest to accrue maximum benefits from the forthcoming Joint Cooperation Committee meeting.

It was decided that the next meeting of Cabinet Committee on CPEC would be convened in September.

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