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December 8, 2018

Pakistan to place several key projects before JCC


December 8, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan has decided to place several key projects before the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during its upcoming meeting.

These projects include $2 billion Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), socio-economic development projects from all provinces for three-year period up to $1 billion and Gwadar infrastructure projects.

Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtyar chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) here on Friday.

The JCC is schedule to be held on December 19 and 20 in Beijing in which both sides will explore options to cooperate in the field of transfer of technology (ToT) in the agriculture sector.

“There is no possibility of any progress on the much-awaited Mainline (ML-1) with estimated cost of $8.2 billion because both sides could not finalise a financing arrangement to move ahead,” official sources confirmed to The News on Friday.

For construction of New International Airport at Gwadar, land has been provided by the Civil Aviation while China will fund its execution.

The cost of airport might exceed the original estimates in the wake of completion of feasibility.

The 300MW coal-based power project at Gwadar will kick-start soon, as the Balochistan cabinet has approved granting an NOC for moving ahead with the project.

On development of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at Rashakai, it will become operational while for Dhabeji the Sindh government has decided to go for competitive bidding for development work of economic zone.

According to an official statement issued on Friday, the conveners of Joint Working Groups on Energy, Infrastructure, Gwadar, Planning and Industrial Cooperation briefed the committee about the agenda of the forthcoming 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting.

The committee approved the agenda, composition of Pakistani delegation for the next JCC and its date of meeting fixed for December 20, 2018.

The committee expressed satisfaction over inviting chief ministers of all the provinces to participate in the JCC that would enable them to market their own industrial zones as well as negotiate their projects particularly new initiatives in the socio-economic development sector.

The committee reviewed the progress on Pak-China industrial cooperation and instructed a special focus on promotion of this sector.

The cabinet body gave the go-ahead for signing an industrial cooperation framework with China and encouraging Chinese investors to relocate their industries.

The committee instructed that a schedule be finalised for groundbreaking of Rashakai Economic Zone at the earliest by removing all bottlenecks.

The chair said the government had expanded the base of CPEC by including socio-economic development and agriculture sector.

The committee advised identification of pilot projects in these sectors in consultation with the provinces and take up with the Chinese side.

The committee reviewed the progress on Gwadar projects and instructed completion of all codal formalities for an early groundbreaking of Gwadar New Airport, Vocational Institute, Hospital and 300 MW Power Plant not later the 1st quarter of 2019.

The committee discussed transport infrastructure projects in detail including provincial as well as mass transit projects and instructed developing a roadmap for Pakistan’s Railway Mainline-1.

It was decided to seek finances for KKH Thakot-Raikot (Remaining Portion) and up-gradation of DI Khan-Zhob (Phase-1) project of the Western Route.

The minister said the western route projects were a priority of government that would open and ensure development of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

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