The 5th meeting of Pakistan China Joint Working Group (JWG) on Gwadar has finalized deliverable projects which would be placed before the next Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC.
The JWG meeting, held through a video link in Islamabad on Monday, was co-chaired by Ministry of Planning, Development, & Special Initiatives Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana and National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) Director General Ying Xiong.
According to officials, the NDRC director general said that the development of Gwadar was a priority and would be pushed forward with vigor and zeal. The PD&SI secretary acknowledged the continuous support extended by Chinese government for Gwadar’s development and assured the Chinese side of Pakistan’s unwavering commitment to accelerate development work in the port city.
The meeting reviewed the progress of projects in Gwadar. Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress made in port development with Chinese side appreciating the support provided by Pakistan in port operationalization, particularly enabling the Afghan transit trade through Gwadar.
It was agreed that this step would greatly reduce the logistic cost and facilitate the transshipment trade.
The China Overseas Ports Holding Company Limited (COPHCL) chairman explained the development of the port in detail and highlighted the renewed interest of entrepreneurs in investing in Gwadar port and free zone area. It was informed that the Eastbay Expressway will be completed in 2021 and all pending issues have been resolved on priority.
The expressway will connect the port with the 2nd phase of the Free Trade Zone (FTZ) which will facilitate business climate of the zone and the port alike. Other projects discussed included New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) and M-8 Motorway for seamless connectivity of Gwadar with the rest of the country and beyond. The progress on the NGIA was noted with satisfaction.
The Chinese side appreciated progress on the energy projects in Gwadar. The Power Purchase Agreement of 300MW Coal Power Project was made as a deliverable for the forthcoming 10th JCC. The project upon completion will energize industry in Gwadar and will improve the social and economic well-being of the local community.
Projects in the social sector discussed during the meeting include Pak-China Friendship Hospital and Vocational & Technical Institute in Gwadar.
The MoPD&SI Secretary highlighted that the hospital project is of vital importance for the people of Gwadar and needs to be expedited. For the Vocational & Technical Institute, both sides agreed to push ahead to create job opportunities for the youth.
For the development of Gwadar as a smart port city, it was reiterated that the provision of freshwater is of utmost importance. In this regard, the 1.2 MGD desalination plant project was termed critical. Both sides agreed to take necessary measures to complete the project in time.
The dredging of berthing areas is important for large vessels to access the Gwadar port which will improve the operationally of the port. For the construction of breakwater, timely completion of the project was stressed as a crucial intervention required for the fishermen community in Gwadar. The secretary proposed to divide the project into two phases for better implementation of the project. DG NDRC replied in affirmative and appreciated the idea.
The secretary also appreciated the projects under Corporate Social Responsibility including the Fraternity Emergency Care Centre of the Red Crescent Society of China, Pak-China Faqeer Colony School and other initiatives of the China Overseas Port Holding Company.