ISLAMABAD: Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar has said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor was a project of great national significance, which would become a harbinger of development and prosperity for the entire region.
The minister was chairing the 58th Progress Review Meeting of CPEC projects in Islamabad on Friday. Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Dr Mohammad Jehanzeb Khan, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan, representatives from Chinese enterprises and senior officials from relevant ministries were also present on the occasion.
The minister said that the incumbent government, in consultation with the government of China, has succeeded in expanding the scope of CPEC to other priority areas, including socio-economic development, poverty alleviation, agricultural and industrial cooperation etc.
“The second phase, as envisioned by Prime Minister Imran Khan, will focus, among others, on welfare projects and we are thankful to the Chinese government for broadening its framework to ensure sustained development of Pakistan,” the minister stated.
He reiterated that the government remains fully committed to realising the potential and opportunities under the CPEC framework.
Speaking on the occasion, Chinese envoy Yao Jing said that CPEC was heading in the right direction, adding that CPEC was quite different from other Belt and Road initiatives as “this flagship project manifested the longstanding friendship between the two friendly countries”.
He said CPEC was a vision of two brotherly countries that goes beyond traditional business dealings and reflects decades-old strong bonds of bilateral cooperation and shared goals.
He said in line with the outcome of the recent meeting between PM Imran Khan and Chinese foreign minister, the corridor would continue to progress on an expedited pace so that all projects were completed on time.
During the meeting, various projects of CPEC were discussed in detail. The power secretary informed that a synchronised demand-supply study of CPEC energy projects would be firmed up by October 2019.
NEPRA said that all pending tariff issues, including Gwadar 300MW coal project, would be resolved soon.
Talking about Kohala hydropower project, the minister expressed gratitude to the Chinese government and Three Gorges for extending cooperation in this regard.
It was decided that process for establishing appellate tribunal would be expedited to resolve future tariff issues of energy projects.
The meeting was informed that the Gwadar Development Authority, headed by the Balochistan chief minister, has approved the Gwadar city master plan with some minor modifications.
The communications secretary informed that Multan-Sukkur motorway will be opened soon for general traffic, as the work was almost complete.
The planning minister and the Chinese ambassador appreciated the pace of work on the East Bay Expressway project.
Orange Line Train project and ongoing projects in Gwadar were also deliberated upon in detail. The minister said that special economic zones would help boost Pakistan’s exports and achieving sustainable economic growth.