PM adviser stresses China-plus CPEC for ‘desirable’ benefits

ISLAMABAD: Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Hafeez Shaikh on Thursday emphasised participation of other countries in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to fulfill the dreams the Chinese-funded projects promised.

“As far as Pakistan is concerned CPEC is an opportunity that Pakistan must not miss,” Shaikh said. “However, the promise of CPEC could only be fulfilled if it is not confined to China and Pakistan.”

Addressing a seminar, the PM adviser said balance, wisdom and the desire to see the world as a whole as a place of shared humanity are critical. “The CPEC can either be transaction or it can be a transformation,” he said. “For it to be a transformation it must be China Plus and the other countries have to be welcomed and participate in this great transition. If we stay wise and recognise the strength of our relationship with China but also allow other countries to participate in CPEC, its promise would be fulfilled.”

PM adviser said the government has a very liberal foreign investment regime without restrictions. “You can participate with as much equity as you want, you can have as much shares as you want in any industry you want and you do not have the requirement of having a local partner.” Islamabad Policy Research Institute hosted the two-day ‘Margalla Dialogue: Peace and Development in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia’.

Shaikh said private sector is the key driver in prosperity and the only way to bring prosperity is to let the sector perform unregulated. “Job of bureaucrats and government ministers is to formulate policies and act like facilitators while real action is performed by private sector people who could drive and accelerate the pace of development and progress.” The adviser said a policy regime should not be obstructive and restrictive in nature.

“The best thing the governments could do is to get out of the way of businesses and value the people who are legitimately making money,” he said. “Until and unless we value people who are legitimately making money, we will not be able to have a situation in which people can flourish and generate jobs.”

Shaikh said there is so much money chasing so few projects. Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank alone has $100 billion while the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and Islamic Development Bank share capital is also impressive, “but they are insignificant when compared to hundreds of billions of dollars possessed by the private sector”.

“All this money is waiting for good purchase but countries make bad policies, which don’t attract those hundreds of billions of dollars, and create lots of obstacles in the way of that money to come to our countries,” he said. “Misleading the private sector is impossible and the private sector would only bring its money to a country where everyone else also brings his or her money.”

PM adviser said tough decisions helped in bringing down current account deficit by over 40 percent, having a positive primary balance for the first time and reduction in fiscal deficit.

Source: The News 

Dated on: 15/11/2019

CPEC 2nd phase boosts “Pakistan 12th 5-year plan “2018-23”

With rebooting Pakistan economy, CPEC 2nd phase has put Pakistan into strong position to achieve its own 12th 5-year plan 2018-2023.
Vision 2018-2023 has been designed by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, Government of Pakistan.
From first phase to second phase, journey of CPEC remains uncompromised and this momentum has charged up Pakistan to meet national targets and international goals.
Last week, Pakistan and China held 9th JCC meeting that rolled out CPEC second era with positive note. It covered the areas of industrialization, SEZs, Agriculture socio-economic cooperation, skill developments, rail, road and port’s infrastructures.  All these priorities are directly in conformity with 12th 5-year plan 2018-2023.
The National Economic Council (NEC) also agreed 12th five-year plan in chair with Prime Minister Imran Khan. Attendees were Adviser Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusru Bakhtiar, Adviser Commerce Mr. Abdul Razzak Dawood, Governor KP Mr. Shah Farman, Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar, CM Sindh Syed Murad Ali Shah, CM Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Mr. Mehmood Khan, CM Balochistan Mr. Jam Kamal Khan, Finance Minister Punjab Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro, Ms. Naheed S. Durrani, Finance Minister KP Mr. Taimur Saleem Khagra, Mr. Jan Muhammad Jamali, PM Azad Jammu & Kashmir Raja Farooq Haider, Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan Hafiz Hafiz-ur-Rehman and others.
12th Five Year Plans involve regional development; resource mobilization, social protection; connectivity, promoting knowledge economy and Clean and Green Pakistan. PSDP 2019-20 suggests priority initiatives in the field of agriculture, information technology, higher education, science & technology and technical education and training.
Keeping in view targets of 12th 5 years plan 2018-2023, Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar headed Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and deliberated ML-1 railway project besides formation of a high level financing expert group to deliberate on loan modalities.
Insightful analyses of CPEC publication falling issue volume 3 under the aegis of Pakistan ministry for planning, development and reforms, manifest that vision 2018-2023 conforms with six major areas that are to be concentrated for the expansion of CPEC. These areas are Trade & Market Access; Industrial Development & Global Value Chains; Socioeconomic Development & Poverty Alleviation; Agriculture Modernization & Marketing; Gwadar Oil City & Blue Economy; Regional Connectivity & Third Country Participation along with the ongoing projects/ areas.
 
Trade and Market Access
In tune with 12th 5-year Plan that emphasizes trade and market access, CPEC 2nd phase pivots the same. The variety of projects in the areas of trade and market access under CPEC originates a plethora of opportunities in different spheres of life. In this connection, collaborative bond with China will be the rich source of promoting trade, facilitating market access, elevating the standard of living and achieving sustainable inclusive growth in Pakistan. In addition, through CPEC, Pakistan will be able to open its doors to the world by expanding its trade and transport links, as well as boosting economic influence across Central Asia, South Asia, Middle East, Africa and Europe. Special Economic Zones (SEZs)/Export Processing Zones (EPZs) under CPEC are being developed keeping in view the objectives of fast-track industrial growth and export promotion through diversified products. Furthermore, while developing SEZs/EPZs, due consideration may also be given to the fact that the exports could be boosted by ensuring value addition in existing exports through manufacturing processes. China is the second largest economy in the world and is the leading exporter of the world with $2.2 trillion and the second largest importer worth $1.8 trillion. Pakistan is currently exporting goods and services worth $1.5 billion to China which could be enhanced manifolds through cooperation between both the countries and an increased market access to the Chinese markets. In this regard, the China Pakistan Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry could be instrumental.
Industrial Development and Global Value Chain
Under the fold of Industrial development and global value chains, there is consensus to boost industrial cooperation and import substitution with China in various sections including food packaging and processing, agriculture, technology, iron and steel, marble and granite, textile and petrochemicals and light engineering sector supported by industrial relocation and investment of the Chinese industries and other investors (locals and diaspora). The process is expected to increase export and create import substitution.
Socio-Economic Development and Poverty Alleviation
The socio-economic development and poverty alleviation are on the top of the agenda of the CPEC projects in the second phase of development. Pakistan highly acknowledges the importance of social sector development for the prosperity of the country. In this regard, a Joint Working Group is established under CPEC for socio-economic development and poverty alleviation, addressing issues such as housing, relocation of labour-intensive industries, skill training, off-grid solar household solutions, job creation, clean drinking water, education, healthcare, forestry, technology transfer etc. It will further consolidate the bilateral relationship between the two countries under CPEC and enhance cooperation in socio-economic development and poverty alleviation in less developed areas of Pakistan (given below), as well as establish a mechanism of knowledge sharing and experience exchange through friendly cooperation between both the countries. During the next five years, CPEC will focus on improving the basic public services for people of Pakistan, all-round cooperation through different CPEC projects would show a preference for local residents in employment, and the exchange and cooperation in different areas concerning people’s livelihood would lead to the socio-economic development and poverty alleviation in Pakistan.
Agriculture Modernization
Agriculture is one of the key labour-intensive sectors of the economy. More than half of the population particularly the rural population depending upon the agriculture for livelihood thus contributing towards poverty alleviation. The sector contributes 19% to GDP and expected to double by 2030. Over the last years, a noticeable growth of 3.81% has been witnessed that surpassed the targeted growth of 3.55%. It shares 20% in total exports and target is set to increase its share in total exports by 2.5% in the next five years. The sector absorbs 43% of labour force and providing livelihood to 64% of the rural population. Livestock is the dominant sector as it contributes 59% in agriculture and shares 11.11% to GDP, whereas, crops, forestry and fishing performed well and witnessed a significant growth of 3.81%, 7.17% and 1.63% respectively. China and Pakistan, in 2nd the phase, will give full play to their own comparative advantages to strengthen agricultural activities within the CPEC portfolio and would play their active roles in agricultural exchanges and cooperation to promote the systematic, large-scale, standardized and intensified the development of the agricultural sector. Some of the recommendations in this regard include: ? Sharing of Remote Sensing Technologies for Land Fragmentation, Land Consolidation and Land Zoning ? Joint research on Conventional and Genetically modified seed varieties ? Collaborative Development of Agro-Ecological Zones ? Jointly establish laboratories for testing, monitoring and management of crops, horticulture, livestock, aquaculture and poultry ? Encourage the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) to boost trade ? Jointly establish Vocational Training Institutions to uplift Agriculture Sector Productivity ? Mutual Development of a Platform to conduct Trade dialogues on Agriculture Sector ? Co-Branding the Agro products and boosting the multi-lateral trade ? Establishment of Agriculture Machinery Production and Demonstration zones in the BRI countries In addition, both China and Pakistan would promote the transition from traditional agriculture to modern agriculture in the areas along the CPEC to actively boost the development of the local agricultural economy.
Gwadar Oil City and Blue Economy
Under the CPEC portfolio, Gwadar holds the key importance. The strategic focus on simultaneous development of Gwadar port and city — in the form of a new smart port city master plan —. Gwadar has the potential to attract domestic and foreign investments in the region and develop it in an integrated regional manufacturing and energy hub/oil city. The strategies for Blue Economy in the context of Gwadar will be adopted during the next five years to promote activities in coastal areas of Gwadar. Efforts would be made for sustainable fisheries initiatives and to harness ocean and coastal-related resources like building fish stocks, enhancing fishing capacities, and implementing the controlled harvest mechanisms. Innovative methodologies would be used for expansion in eco-friendly services in Gwadar and at other coastal areas of Pakistan. The next phase of development under CPEC will address the potentials and key issues related to the energy potential, blue economy and to maximize the gains. In addition, during the next phase, the blue economy concepts would be governed by processes that are based on: mutual trust and respect, inclusiveness, allows equitable sharing of mutual benefits, marked by stakeholder participation; scientifically sound information; accountable and transparent; holistic and cross-sectoral; and innovative and proactive. Active cooperation and partnerships would be ensured within and amongst public and private sectors to steer the concept of blue economy in Gwadar with special recognition of the needs of the local people, and in line with existing international, regional and national commitments. One-third of the petroleum imports of Pakistan are in the form of refined oil, which is substituted with the crude oil could save around $3-3.5 billion a year for which a couple of oil refineries would be required to be established in Gwadar.
Yasir Habib Khan, special correspondent of China Economic Net, President of Institute of International Relations and Media Research (IIRMR).

Oil, gas industry uplift: China to provide guidelines under CPEC

China has agreed on a development plan to provide effective guidelines for the development of oil and gas industry in Pakistan under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

During 9th meeting of joint cooperation committee of CPEC in Islamabad last week, both sides expressed appreciation to the energy departments of the Pakistan and China for organizing expert panels to complete the Development plan for Pakistan Oil and Gas industry under the oil and gas sub-working group, in order to provide effective guidance for the development of the Oil and Gas Industry in Pakistan.

Both sides support the expert panels to continue maintaining communication and regularly improving the Plan, so as to promote the healthy development of the Oil and Gas Industry in Pakistan, official documents available with Business Recorder indicated.

During the meeting, Pakistani side proposed various projects to be undertaken under this plan. These include finalization of feasibility study on South North Gas Pipeline Project; upgradation of Pakistan Refinery Ltd Karachi; Coal to Liquid Engineering Plant based on Thar Coal at Thar Sindh, and Thar Block-VI for Coal gasification to Fertilizer projects.

During the meeting, deliberation also held on industrial cooperation. Documents showed that a team of Chinese experts was sent by China International Engineering Consulting Corporation (CIECC) for an industrial diagnosis of Pakistan. The expert team provided intellectual and technical support to the industrial and SEZ development in Pakistan and their work achieved good results.

Both sides hoped that the two sides set up a long-term mechanism to deepen China-Pakistan industrial cooperation.

Both countries also gave high attention to the Rashakai Nowshera, Allama Iqbal Faisalabad and Dhabeji, Thatta SEZs, for which the development work will start soon. The Chinese side hoped the Pakistani side to install external infrastructure facilities, introduce targeted preferential policies, and provide “one-window” service in the SEZ at an early date.

The Chinese side encouraged the participation of competent Chinese companies in the bidding process of the Dhabeji SEZ that will soon be started.

Pakistani side paid high priority to the upgrade of Pakistan Steel, and the Chinese side recognized the importance of this project to the Pakistani side.

Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) and Donghua Steel have signified their willingness to participate in the project. They hoped that companies from the two sides maintain close communication for an early settlement of related issues and push for substantive progress as soon as possible.

JCC appreciated the activities of China-Pakistan Young Workers’ Seminar Camp. Four seminars have been held since the project was launched and these activities have helped to boost the technical exchanges and people-to people connectivity between Chinese and Pakistani workers.

The All-China Federation of Trade Unions and Ministry for Planning, Development & Reform of Pakistan will sign the MoU of Cooperation for Further Strengthening the Worker’s Exchanges between the two sides. Pakistan side informed that special incentive package is at final stage of preparation and will be shared soon.

Source: Business Recorder 

Dated on: 14th November, 2019

China’s Belt & Road Bank Partner in Pakistan Moves Into Mainland

Habib Bank Ltd., the lender involved in about $6 billion of Pakistan projects under the Belt and Road Initiative, plans to expand in China to tap more business under President Xi Jinping’s flagship infrastructure program.

The bank’s application for full-fledged commercial operations has been accepted by China’s banking regulator, and Pakistan’s biggest lender expects to get a branch license within three months, Chief Executive Officer Muhammad Aurangzeb said.

The experience in working with Chinese companies building the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, coal mines and power plants in the South Asian nation encouraged the lender to expand in the world’s second-largest economy. Habib Bank, controlled by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development SA, is among the few Pakistani lenders to fund the Belt and Road projects that are otherwise dominated by Chinese banks.

China’s state-run companies “increasingly want to work with us in all those locations which are part of the Belt and Road but Chinese banks are not present,” Aurangzeb, 55, said in an interview in his Karachi office. “In the next 3-5 years, if we get this one right, this puts us is in a supra-regional play.”

The bank is looking to leverage its relationship with Chinese companies in Pakistan. It has expanded business with one such company in the United Arab Emirates and is discussing a project in Oman as well, said Aurangzeb. The lender has been able to penetrate Belt and Road projects in Pakistan by developing China business over the last decade and a half, said the former JPMorgan Chase & Co. executive

“They want to explore new markets, which is fine, but they need to do it in a cautious manner, cognizant of the risks,” said Raza Jafri, director of research at Intermarket Securities Ltd. “Lending in foreign markets will be least preferred given risks to the global economy, but it will be fine if Habib Bank sticks to services like trade facilitation.”

The bank’s shares have gained almost 20% this year, while the benchmark KSE-100 Index has dropped about 1%.

Habib Bank advanced credit and also acquired stake in the nation’s first-ever coal mining venture, one of the main Belt and Road projects, with Chinese companies in Pakistan’s Thar desert. It has also participated in a few coal-fired power plants and an electricity transmission line project in different roles, Aurangzeb said.

In its attempt to follow Chinese investment it became the first Pakistani lender to open a branch in Gwadar, a small fishing town — 630 kilometers (391 miles) west of Karachi — where China is developing a port. It also became the first foreign bank to have a branch in Urumqi in western China last year, and acquired a license last week that allows them to open yuan-based accounts for customers.

Read: China’s Big Political Gambit Hinges on a Remote Arabian Sea Port

The lender, founded in 1941, has since worked with Chinese state-owned companies including China Machinery Engineering Corp. and State Grid Corporation of China. Habib Bank also got a credit line from China Development Bank for $500 million about three years ago that has been 80% consumed, according to Habib Bank.

Expansion in China will help it further improve its relationships with the companies. That explains Aurangzeb’s visiting card, which mentions his name and other details in Chinese along with English — unusual for Pakistani firms.

Pakistan has been one of the flagships for China’s Belt and Road initiative, with infrastructure projects valued at $60 billion. It ended Pakistan’s decades-old power shortage problem, though it did increase Pakistan’s reliance on China. It has to pay Chinese commercial banks more than the International Monetary Fund in the next three years.

Habib Bank’s increased focus on China comes after it shut its U.S. branch, following a fine of $225 million by a New York regulator two years ago for weak anti-money laundering controls and sanctions compliance.

Read: China’s Belt and Road Is Getting a Reboot. Here’s Why: QuickTake

Habib Bank has about over a dozen Chinese employees working in Pakistani branches that handle 10,000 accounts of Chinese citizens and companies. The bank as part of its new global strategy to focus on China is also exiting countries including Lebanon, Afghanistan, Mauritius and Seychelles, said Aurangzeb.

More from the interview:

New York fine fallout:

  • The bank took a foreign currency loan to pay the fine that has impacted earnings this year but that loan is being reduced quite aggressively and is expected to be repaid by next year, said Aurangzeb.
  • CEO not worried about another penalty at this point.
  • Cost to income ratio to start dropping in normalized level around 60% next year and 50% range in following 3-4 years, says Aurangzeb.

Pakistan bad loans:

  • There is stress in bad loans but “I don’t see alarm bells ringing,” said Aurangzeb.
  • CEO targets getting into double digits ROE next year and 17%-18% ROE range in 4-5 years.
  • Deposit growth of 9%-10% and loan growth of 7%-9% estimated for next year.

Source: Bloomberg

US brings in ‘Blue Dot Network’ to counter China’s Belt and Road initiative

In an effort to compete with China’s multi-billion-dollar Belt and Road initiative, the US Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) has unveiled Blue Dot Network with the aim to invest and trade more in Asia.

The Blue Dot Network was announced by OPIC’s Executive Vice President David Bohigian at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Bangkok, Thailand. The network is an initiative that brings together governments, private sector and civil society to promote high-quality global infrastructure development in an open and inclusive framework.

“The Blue Dot Network will evaluate and certify nominated infrastructure projects based upon adherence to commonly accepted principles and standards to promote market-driven, transparent, and financially sustainable infrastructure development in the Indo-Pacific region and around the world,” stated OPIC in a statement.

“Through Blue Dot Network, the United States is proud to join key partners to fully unlock the power of quality infrastructure to foster unprecedented opportunity, progress, and stability,” Bohigian said.

The network, which is named after astronomer Carl Sagan’s observation that Earth looked like a ‘pale blue dot’ when viewed from space, will initially be led by OPIC. The OPIC will be in co-operation with the Japan Bank for International Cooperation and Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said the Blue Dot Network was in its early stages but that it would include countries committed to “sustainable infrastructure development”.

Blue Dot Network participants will form a steering committee to further refine the initiative and its global infrastructure standards. It will also invite partners representing sovereign governments, private sector, civil society and economies to join the effort.

Source: Business Recorder

Dated on: 11/12/2019

CPEC projects: Pakistan, China agree to enhance security system

Pakistan and China have agreed to enhance cooperation to put in place a more effective security system for China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects with Gwadar Port as pilot project in this regard.

Both countries reached the consensus in recently concluded 9th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC. Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Khusro Bakhtyar and Vice Chairman of National Development & Reform Commission Ning Ji Zhe led Pakistani and Chinese sides, respectively during the meeting.

According to official documents concerning the proceedings of the JCC, the two sides reaffirmed that security is of utmost importance to the development of CPEC.

Both sides agreed that they should be highly vigilant to the threats of terrorist attacks. Chinese side appreciated dedicated security being provided by Government of Pakistan to CPEC projects and agreed that raising of Special Security Division (SSD) North and South has further enhanced security of CPEC.

Pakistan said that country will take all necessary measures to ensure the security of Chinese personnel and CPEC projects.

Whereas, Chinese side assured that it would make best efforts to work with Pakistani side to mitigate all threats to CPEC. The Chinese side will also continue to provide support for capacity building of Pakistani side to the best of its ability, documents revealed.

Both sides agreed that the wide application of technology will further improve the efficiency of security work of CPEC, and the two sides will further enhance cooperation to establish a more effective security system with Gwadar port as pilot project. The two sides agreed to enhance joint cooperation on security of CPEC in all domains, the documents indicted.

Source: Business Recorder

Dated on: 11/12/2019

China to built Schools & Hospitals in Pakistan’s Tribal Region

China will construct 58 schools and 30 hospitals in the tribal region in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing has said.

“It is the top priority for the Chinese Government to develop the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s backward areas,” Yao said.

“The Chinese Government has approved construction of 58 schools in erstwhile FATA and 30 hospitals in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Our forefathers belong to the region now known as the northern areas of Pakistan. Hence it is our top priority to develop these areas,” Jing said on Saturday while speaking at the national seminar on Friends of Silk Road.

The FATA, which consisted of seven tribal districts and six frontier regions, was merged with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province in 2017.

“There is a need of peace and stability in the region so that Chinese firms execute dream project of linking Quetta, Chaman to Gwadar and Peshawar to Kabul and onwards to Kazakhstan through railway tracks,” he said.

Noting that Pakistan and China are working on 10 agriculture projects, Yao urged the Higher Education Institutions to come up with proposals to establish the 10 agriculture labs in the country through Planning Commission and Pakistan Agriculture Research Council (PARC).

Yao said Khyber Pakhtunkhwa would play a vital role to make the USD 60 billion China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) dream come true.

“Peshawar would be the gateway to the central Asia in the region and in near future the rail tracks from Karachi to Peshawar would be upgraded along with the new rail systems,” he said.

The CPEC launched in 2015, is a planned network of roads, railways and energy projects linking China’s resource rich Xinjiang with Pakistan’s strategic Gwadar Port on the Arabian Sea.

Source: Belt and Road News

China committed to building world level CPEC projects

BEIJING: Chinese engineers and workers kept high the country’s image and goodwill among the people of Pakistan, while constructing the CPEC’s related projects as per the International standard.

“We are committed to promoting China’s standards for CPEC’s major hydropower projects, said Yang Haiyan, Deputy Chief Engineer Beifang Investigation, Design & Research Co, Ltd. (BIDR) of Sinohydro Group.

According to a report, published by Gwadar Pro net on Thursday, people in Pakistan heaved sign of relief as the extreme shortage of power has been enormously alleviated as more and more energy and power projects under the CPEC were put into production, transmitting electricity to thousands of Pakistani households with full-load operation of the sprouting hydro-power stations. People from all walks of life highly appraise the “revolutionary changes” of the local economy brought by the CPEC projects.

CPEC is a flagship project of the Belt and Road Initiative launched by China, in which Sinohydro Group plays an important role and shoulders corresponding responsibilities. Across the world, the engineers of Sinohydro Group have injected new impetus to those areas by constructing infrastructure projects with proficient skills and the spirit of overcoming all difficulties and hardships.

According to the report, bringing a good name for the country has been the main priority for the Chinese companies, who are engaged in construction of CPEC. “Out of China, I have no name; I’m just a Chinese engineer, standing for the image of China. We are responsible for sharing the development opportunities of China with the rest of the world,” said Yang Haiyan.

In the past sixteen years, Yang has been shuttling among projects in dozens of countries, including Pakistani Gomal Zam Dam Project, Duber Khwar Hydropower Project, Kohala Hydropower Project, etc.

International hydropower projects usually feature long construction cycles, high standard of design and great difficulty in execution. What’s more, they are mostly located in areas with poor natural and living conditions.

Pakistan is the very case. It is hot and rainless all year round. Terrorist attacks occur frequently. Its economic development is slow, and the conditions of construction site are unusually poor. However, in Yang’s eyes, these experiences have remained valuable during her growth.

“Others withdraw, but we won’t do that. The green power expansion in Pakistan needs us to come true,” said Yang. What makes Yang prouder is that her team has provided China’s plans on hydropower development for many projects, which could withstand the test of time.

Source: The News 

Dated on: 11/8/2019

Pakistan keen to take CPEC projects forward expeditiously: Senator Sherry

Chairperson of the Senate Special Committee on China Pakistan Economic Corridor Senator Sherry Rehman, in a meeting with representatives of Bureau-I (South and Southeast Asian Affairs), International Department Central Committee of Chinese People’s Congress, observed that Pakistan is very keen to take the CPEC projects forward expeditiously and further enhance and improve upon the bilateral relations.

She said that the equilibrium in the bilateral relationship should never be disturbed and that the Chinese side should be facilitated as much as possible.

Representatives of the Bureau-I told Senator Sherry Rehman about the upcoming JCC meeting to be held in Islamabad in the second quarter of the next year. They said that the event will be attended by high profile dignitaries from the Chinese side and same from the Pakistani side will be welcomed.

Senator Sherry Rehman said that JCC is one of the most pivotal exercises conducted by the Chinese government as it leads to more discussions and agreements, propelling positive developments on CPEC among other mutual projects.

She also stressed upon the need for doing more homework by the Pakistani side at federal and provincial levels to make the most out of such interactions.

Senator Sherry Rehman observed that the Senate Special Committee on CPEC will be soon visiting Gwadar to oversee the ongoing progress and infrastructural development as well as to play its part in integrating the local population with the projects.

She said that Chinese initiatives aimed at more than just energy and infrastructure, adding that the welfare and inclusion of the local community were substantial developments. Matters pertaining to the economic and political situation, accountability, climate change as well as the ongoing smog crisis also came under focus. Both sides agreed to bolster cooperation in order to tackle these challenges.

Source: Daily Times

Dated on: 8/11/2019

JCC on CPEC reviews progress on various projects

ISLAMABAD: Recognising that financing had become bottleneck for execution of CPEC projects, Pakistan and China have taken decision to use RMB financing through signed minutes of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) under the ambit of CPEC.

Top official sources confirmed to The News while quoting signed minutes of 9th JCC meeting under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) held here in Islamabad on November 5, 2019 disclosed that the two sides recognised that financing had always been a bottleneck for CPEC project execution but there was no mention of anything what kind of difficulties the authorities concerned faced because of using US dollar.

“In order to fundamentally resolve the financing issue, based on the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, the two sides agreed to drive RMB financing in CPEC projects,” said the top official.

The Chinese side, the official said, has set up an inter-department working mechanism for RMB financing at the secretariat level. In terms of ML-1, a separate work mechanism for ML-1 is set up under Joint Working Group (JWG) on Transport Infrastructure, responsible for both technical issues and financing coordination. Both sides will work through their respective inter-department teams to finalise the financing arrangement.

The Joint Cooperation Committee also showed satisfaction with the progress of ML-1 project. The Pakistani side informed that the umbrella PC-1 of the project has been submitted to the Planning Commission and will be approved expeditiously. It was further added that bidding documents are under process and will be finalised by Dec 15, 2019. “The Pakistani side proposed that the project financing may be considered through Chinese currency RMB,” said the official sources.

The JCC expressed satisfaction with the completion of the review of the Preliminary Design Phase I for ML-1 and agreed to expedite the preliminary design and review of the remaining sub projects. Both sides agreed that the Pakistani side shall complete the project approval process (PC-1), formulate the bidding documents.

In order to facilitate ML-1 financing, Pakistani side has established ML-1 Inter-Departmental Financing Committee. The Chinese side agreed to constitute a high-level financing committee for financing negotiation in the near future. It was also agreed that RMB financing for the project shall be considered, said the official.

Regarding the three mass transit projects in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar, both sides agreed to move forward based on the readiness of each project. For Karachi Circular Railway project, the Pakistani side will shortly submit the financing request to the Chinese side.

Regarding Quetta Mass Transit and Greater Peshawar Mass Transit, both sides agreed to consider the projects in next JWG meeting after approval of the PC-Is.

Both sides agreed that D I Khan–Zhob highway project will be placed in priority list. The Pakistani side requested Chinese side to consider signing a framework agreement for commencement of this project in 2020 and the Chinese side agreed to have internal consultation and to keep in touch with the Pakistani side on this issue.

Pakistani side proposed to constitute a joint technical working group at G to G level to prepare a proposal for the re-alignment of Thakot–Raikot section of KKH. The Chinese side agreed to consider it in the next JWG meeting.

Both sides agreed to deliberate the projects (i) Gilgit-Shandoor-Chitral (359km), (ii) Mirpur-Muzaffarabad-Mansehra (MMM) (200km) and (iii) Nokundi-Mashkel-Panjgur Road (290km) at the 8th JWG on Transport Infrastructure after approval of the PC-Is.

Both sides were satisfied with the progress of the five-year action plan for Technical Cooperation on Highway (2018-2022) and agreed to convene the annual meeting between the two executive organisations in Pakistan in the first quarter of 2020. The Pakistani side informed that a concept paper explaining all projects in the Action Plan and their financial implications has been drawn up to be submitted to the Chinese Embassy for the formal application for foreign aid of the Chinese government. The application for aid/grant shall be submitted to the Chinese Embassy by the first quarter of 2020 upon approval by related Pakistani authorities.

Both sides agreed to the all-weather opening of KKH at Khunjerab. The Pakistani side informed that it will prepare a proposal for consideration at the next JWG. At the moment, the Khunjerab border is closed for four to six months in the wake of extreme winter season every year.

The JCC agreed that new projects will be considered in the next JWG after approval of the PC-Is including Swat Express Way Phase–II and Peshawar-D I Khan Motorway.

Source: The News

Dated on: 7/11/2019