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April 7, 2018

Financing CPEC projects: China not to backtrack


April 7, 2018

ISLAMABAD: After becoming largest recipient of Chinese concessional loans around the whole world, Beijing has given assurances to Pakistan that it will not backtrack from providing multibillion dollars financing for upcoming projects under CPEC but the ministries concerned will have to accomplish procedural requirements well on time. The regular shipping services has already started from Gwadar in order to establish linkages among Dubai, Gwadar, Karachi and Shanghai in order to promote transportation of cargo for promoting trade.

“China has assured Pakistan that all financing commitments made in writing for executing projects under CPEC will be honoured. All signed projects will be executed and now the Economic Affairs Division (EAD) has been fully involved and activated. The ministries/divisions and departments will have to complete procedural requirements,” Federal Secretary Ministry of Planning Shoaib Siddiqui told journalists here at P-Block on Friday. When asked about differences over cost and design of much trumpeted Mainline (ML-1) for up-gradation of rail line from Peshawar to Karachi with estimated cost of Rs9,000 billion, the Secretary Planning said that the Ministry of Railways asked to drop this project from the last CDWP meeting. “We are trying our level best to start this project after completion of procedural requirements,” he added. To another query regarding differences in cost estimated by Chinese and Pakistani side for execution of first phase, the Secretary said that he did not know about it but efforts were underway to kick-start ML-1 as early as possible as the political transition completed in China and same people had assumed responsibilities at NDRC in China that would help ensure continuity in policies.

Talking about Karachi Circular Railways, he said that it was part of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Chinese side would finance this project. The Deputy Project Director of CPEC at Planning Commission Hassan Daud told reporters on this occasion that Regular Shipping Services started since March 7, 2018 for promoting trade among Dubai, Gwadar, Karachi and Shanghai. He also said that the caravan of trade had been arranged by Pakistan Army and such caravan would be arranged to demonstrate that Pakistan had become peaceful country.

He said that borders through road got suspended for a few months due to severe winter conditions with China but it opened last week. To another query regarding delays in execution of projects under CPEC done by private parties such as Thar Coal project executed by Engro, the Secretary Planning replied that the government could not provide them any concession in terms of bearing cost of penalty if they failed to manage financing of the project and seeking extension for completion of any project.

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