CPEC projects expected to pick up pace soon

Minister for Economic Affairs Khusro Bakhtyar on Wednesday expressed hope that implementation of projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework would be expedited.

Bakhtyar hoped that the joint cooperation committee meeting that is scheduled for December would be successful and that the implementation of important socioeconomic, energy, transport, infrastructure and special economic zone projects would be expedited.

“Agriculture is one of the key sectors for the Pakistan’s economy… Pakistan and China should deepen and expand cooperation in the agriculture sector under CPEC umbrella to enhance productivity and value addition,” the minister said during a meeting with China’s newly appointed Ambassador Nong Rong.

Economic minister hoped that Pakistan-China ties would further deepen and be strengthened.

“Pakistan and China are strategic partners and both countries supported each other on the issues of their core interest,” he said.

The $60 billion CPEC kick-started five years back concentrating mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall. Within a last couple of years, a series of power projects transformed the country into energy-surplus destination from the power-deficient one.

Special economic zones are the next phase of development after early harvest projects under the CPEC. Government is expecting $1.3 billion worth of exports revenue from industrial chemicals through establishing SEZs dedicated to biotechnology.

However, the second phase of industrial and agriculture cooperation has yet to be made practical with debt burden on Pakistan’s economy frequently being questioned.

During the meeting, Pakistan-China economic relations, cooperation in fighting COVID-19, CPEC, and matters of mutual economic interests were discussed. The meeting agreed that the strategic partnership should set the basis for strong economic partnership.

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Ambassador Nong said Pakistan-China relations will grow further under the leadership of the two countries. He conveyed government of China’s full support to CPEC and resolved that Pakistan and China should further deepen and cooperation at the bilateral and multilateral institutions.

CPEC framework envisaged 10,000 megawatts of production capacity.

In the first phase, a total of 1,544 km of roads have been constructed and 1,456 km are under construction. In the energy sector, 5,320 MW of electricity has been added to the national grid, while work on 7 projects with 4,170 MW power projects is nearing completion. Additional projects of 2,844MW are planned. Also, cross border optical fiber project which stretches over 820 km linking Khunjrab to Rawalpindi has already been completed.

Source: The News  https://www.thenews.com.pk/print/752681-cpec-projects-expected-to-pick-up-pace-soon

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