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Newspost

March 21, 2017

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This is CPEC

This is CPEC

This refers to the article, ‘Questions on CPEC’ (Mar 19), by Anjum Altaf. One believes that all experts should give constructive feedback. In our country, we observe two extremes – either excessive support or intense criticism. The criticism in the article nullifies the advantages of the mega project. CPEC is an opportunity that must be dealt with strategically. We need to find a balance and also not find faults or call it a ‘toll collection project’.

The project should be analysed through a cost-benefit analysis, estimating the direct and indirect costs, induced benefits, including the retention of skilled labours and avoidable and unavoidable costs. We should not be pessimistic about every other project. We should make the most of every opportunity that comes our way.

Saman Hamid

Peshawar

*****

The article brings serious questions into the limelight. The crucial elements of CPEC are the financial obligations. This comprehensively cover the terms of loan repayment, tax concessions offered, the capital cost of, the operating and maintenance cost etc. The question arises: Has the country planned how it would discharge its financial obligations? Another important question is: Is trade between the two countries viable? The western half of China adjoining Pakistan is barren. That region can produce nothing for the trade. China’s economic activities are concentrated on its eastern coast.               

According to the price quotations of some shipping agents, a container can be shipped to/from any port in China and Karachi or Dubai for $300-$400 whereas it would cost $5,000-$7,000 to carry it through rails/roads for transit through Pakistani ports.       No businessman will shift his cargo from the sea to land route. This is why the transit trade agreement between Pakistan, China, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan that allows the free use of Pakistani ports has been dormant since 1995. Expansion in world trade was only made possible by cheap shipping. Old land routes could not survive the competition. Efforts to revive them by slogans like one road one belt are not likely to succeed.

Abdul Majeed

Islamabad

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