Expressing their satisfaction and full support to China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the federal and provincial governments have agreed to complete homework on new projects, approved by 6th Joint Co-operation Committee (JCC) to ensure their speedy and timely implementation.
The federal and provincial governments have agreed to complete homework as soon as possible on new projects of the CPEC in a post-6th Joint Co-operation Committee meeting presided over by Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform (PD&R) Ahsan Iqbal at P-Block of the Planning Commission here on Thursday.
The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) Raja Farooq Haidar Khan, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pervaiz Khattak, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafeez Ur Rehman and provincial ministers from Sindh and Punjab, besides senior officials from federal and provincial governments.
While highlighting decisions taken in the meeting, Ahsan Iqbal said in a joint press conference that leadership has agreed to complete homework on new projects included in CPEC, during 6th JCC to avoid any delay. He said that Pakistani side of the Joint Working Groups (JWGs) will meet soon to finalise new projects in energy, infrastructure and other sectors.
The minister also appreciated the role of provinces, particularly Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, on accelerating work on CPEC projects. He said that participants agreed that along with projects in infrastructure and energy sector, procedure on industrialisation would be firmed up to ensure maximum benefits of CPEC.
He urged on private entrepreneurs to come forward and fully utilise this opportunity to make Pakistan a prosperous country. “The CPEC would not only prove a game changer for Pakistan, but it would ensure connectivity of the whole region. It would turn Pakistan into a trade hub if all the targets are achieved,” said added.
He said the participation of senior provincial leadership at the 6th JCC, held last month in Beijing, was evidence of provincial support to this multibillion dollars project. “This participation helped in inclusion of new projects in CPEC portfolio, thus increasing its outlay up to $50 billion.”
Ahsan Iqbal said that some elements are spreading misconceptions and hatching conspiracies against the harmony prevailing on CPEC in Pakistan. “Leadership has thwarted such plans by expressing their full support. All the reservations of federating units were addressed and everyone is now jointly working for success of this project,” he added.
The minister said that certain circles are engaged in negative propaganda against Pak-China industrial co-operation, but these conspirators will have to surely meet failure. He informed that Chinese leadership wishes to speed up the process of industrialisation in Pakistan, thus ready to shift industries here due to expensive labour in China.
“It is illogical to say that a large number of expensive Chinese workers would come to Pakistan and occupy the job market here,” said the minister, hoping that jobs for Pakistani labourers would be multiplied with the completion of industrial cooperation under the CPEC.
He said that with initiation of projects in different sectors, construction material industry has witnessed a boom and now thousands of Pakistani engineers and workers have got jobs in CPEC projects.
Ahsan Iqbal said, “All the projects in energy sector are operating in independent power producing mode (IPP), where tariff is determined by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA), an independent body, so there is no room for questions.”
“Infrastructure projects have been initiated with concessional financing, thus it is awarded through a clear and a set procedure,” he said, adding that Chinese administration gives names of three companies for each projects, where the lowest bidder is decided by Pakistan. Answering to a question, Ahsan Iqbal said that India is suffering from CPEC-phobia, which would surely lead to its isolation in this region. “How India would keep itself isolated of a project where everybody wishes to join?” the minister questioned.
Earlier, in the meeting all the provincial leaders had reiterated their full support to the CPEC and assured to take immediate steps for implementation of new projects.
Besides, the leadership agreed to jointly work against the conspirators. On this occasion, Chief Minister Khyber Pakhtunkhwa said that all his reservations have been addressed; therefore, his government is busy to maximise benefits of the CPEC.
He said that his government would organise a road show in the month of March at China to attract investment for agriculture, mining and tourism sector in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.