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Formation of CPEC ‘authority’ approved by NDC

The National Development Council (NDC) on Thursday approved, in principle, the constitution of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects. The maiden meeting of the NDC chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan discussed development plan of Balochistan, master plan of Gwadar, creation of CPEC Authority and Accelerated Development Plan 2019-20 for erstwhile FATA/merged districts.

A detailed presentation was made on the development plan of Balochistan that included measures to further improve security environment in the province especially the border management, improving the writ of state and development of critical sectors for socio-economic betterment of the people of province.

The meeting was informed that the past neglect of the province, lack of connectivity and economic integration, security challenges and underutilisation and mismanagement of resources contributed towards poverty in the province. A study of utilisation of development budget for past 08 years revealed that out of total expenditure made on the development of the province, approximately 45% were wasted due to pilferage. The meeting decided that every possible effort shall be made to enhance annual development spending of the province over the next 09 years, enabling the province to overcome development challenges, reduce budget deficit and enhance its revenue- generation capacity. Discussing various sectoral development plans, the meeting was informed that communication and infrastructure projects such as completion of M-8 Motorway project, construction of 819 km Chaman-Quetta-Karachi Motorway, Basima-Khuzdar Road and 124 km Awaran-Bela Road project would significantly improve connectivity and communication infrastructure in the province.

On development of coastal areas of the province, the forum approved, in principle, undertaking feasibility studies for port at Gaddani and establishment of special economic zone at Hub.

The forum also approved constitution of National Coastal Development Authority for development of tourist resorts and promoting tourism along the coastal areas of the province including Jiwani, Gwadar, Pasni, Makola, Ormara, Kund Malir, Hingol Park and Miani Hor. On development of ports, the forum endorsed the proposal for development of 08 landing sites and promoting local boat industry including provision of 10,000 green boats. On strategy for development of mines and mineral resources of the province, the forum was informed that the province will be divided into four zones (Chagai Zone, Quetta-Duki Zone, Khuzdar-Lasbella Zone and Coastal Zone) and appropriate model will be put in place to encourage private investment in large-scale mining.

On development of oil & gas sector, the forum was apprised of efforts being made to develop 4 new blocks i.e. Block-28, Zhob, Zorgarh, Jandran & Kohlu for exploration, in addition to carrying out seismic survey at 30 onshore sites. The meeting was also briefed about various plans for improvement of agriculture and water management in the province.

The forum approved, in principle, constitution of CPEC Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects. Discussing development of Gwadar and master plan of the city, the forum approved, in principle, the conceptual framework of Gwadar Special Economic District.

The forum also discussed, in detail, accelerated ten-year development plan for erstwhile FATA. The forum reiterated the commitment of the federal government to ensure availability of allocated funds, timely releases and special dispensation for procurement of specialised execution agencies (NESPAK, FWO, NHA) and facilitation for screened NGOs to operate within merged areas for smooth and uninterrupted development of the merged areas. The meeting was attended by foreign minister, minister for planning, adviser on commerce, adviser on finance, chief of army staff (COAS), chief minister KPK, chief minister Balochistan, SAPM on information & broadcasting, finance minister KP, MNA Asad Umar, commander southern command, foreign secretary, secretary finance, deputy chairman Planning Commission and others.

Source: Business Recorder

Date: 8/9/2019

Pakistan-China ties based on mutual trust: CJCSC

BEIJING  –    Pakistan-China relationship is close and solid, and it is based on mutual respect and mutual trust, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee (CJCSC) General Zubair Mahmood Hayat told Chinese media.

He also stressed that Pakistan-China relationship is far beyond the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, but the projects of CPEC are a mega initiative that Pakistan is very proud of and pleased to have, according to China Global Television Network (CGTN).

Gen Zubair Hayat briefed Chinese media and shared his thoughts on China-Pakistan relations and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his recent visit to China for the 13th Defence and Security Talks by China and Pakistan.

When mentioning the construction process of CPEC, Gen Zubair said that the initial part of the projects are focused on energy and infrastructure. Most of the energy- and infrastructure-based projects have come online and are making tangible contributions, he said. According to a Chinese news website, Gen Zubair said that Pakistan is pleased to have the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) as centerpiece of the country’s economic growth and prosperity.

Pakistan embraces and fully supports the BRI, and the CPEC, which encompasses investments in two major areas of energy and infrastructure and has already achieved significant progress, he added.

The CJCSC said that the China-Pakistan relationship is not a transitional, issue-based or interest-driven one; rather, it is a solid friendship based on mutual trust and respect dating back to the era of the ancient Silk Road. Faced with some common challenges in the 21st Century, Pakistan and China share an identical world view and vision of development, since the two countries both value peace, stability and prosperity, he added.

“China was, is and will remain our friend,” the official said, “and we will help each other in times of need.”

During the visit, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan also held a meeting with Gen. Zubair and said that China and Pakistan are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. No matter what changes take place in the international and regional landscapes, China and Pakistan will always trust and support each other, he said.

The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor has achieved fruitful results in the past five years, he added. It is moving towards a new stage of substantial, expanding and high-quality development, he stated.

Wang stressed that the two sides should implement the consensus reached by the leaders of the two countries, firmly promote the construction of the CPEC and deepen cooperation in various fields such as counter-terrorism and security.

During the visit, Vice Chairman of China Central Military Commission, Gen. Zhang Youxia and a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and head of the Commission for Political and Legal Affairs of the CPC Guo Shengkun also held separate meetings with the visiting dignitary.

Source: The Nation

Date: 2nd  August 2019

Chinese firm to launch online cab service in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Eyeing on the potential transport market, a Chinese company is all set to launch its online taxi service on August 10 in six big cities of the country, inviting competition with two such services already operating in the market.

Timesaco, the company launching the Buraq Taxi Service, has devised a comprehensive strategy to attract customers towards its newly established service for making it competitive, since two taxi services namely Careem and Uber are already operating in the market.

Initially these instant services will be launched in the six major cities of Pakistan, including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Islamabad, Rawalpindi and Peshawar, and it would be extended to other urban centers.

Timesaco Chief Operating Officer (CEO), Donald Li talking to APP said that initially the taxi service would be offered at 10 percent discount rates for ride to education institutions, health centers and marriage halls.

He said that special discount would also be provided to professionals including teachers, army personnel and students.

He said that for Timesaco services, customers could download application from Google Play Store for instant services.

He said that people interested to work with Timesaco taxi service could register their vehicles with the company without any precondition.

Buraq drivers will get 97% share of their earning and company will get only 2% from drivers while one percent would be invested in Drivers’ Club for providing health and education services to families of drivers.

He said people could register their bikes, cars, rickshaws, pickups, qingqi loaders, and trucks with the company and get multiple ways for earning.

Talking about an elaborated programme of his company, he said that a comprehensive business plan had been worked out to provide five important services to citizens of Pakistan in six big cities, initially investing $20 million, with future prospects of $600 million.

The services would be provided in five special sectors including transportation, cargo, bank transaction and advertizing, Donald Li said .

“We will provide a rapid service platform to citizens by launching five special service including the Buraq Taxi Service, Heavy Cargo Delivery , Orders’ Delivery, Moving Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and vehicle advertisement facilities.

Donald said that modern technology and innovative methods of E-commerce would be utilized in delivering these services.

Source: The News

Date: 1/8/2019

Dhabeji SEZ to be energized through wind energy under CPEC

ISLAMABAD: The energy department of Sindh government is arranging alternate energy solution to provide electricity to Dhabeji Special Economic Zone in Thatta, a priority project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) through wind power generation as the land falls within the natural wind corridor.

“The request by the federal government to execute this project of wind power generation under Public-Private Partnership (PPP) mode is already submitted to be placed in next PPP Policy board meeting”, an official in government of Sindh Investment Department said.

The official said that the SEZ would require 32 Mega Watt (MW) of electricity by 2021 and PC-I for the 32 MW has already been prepared in coordination with Karachi Electric (KE) and submitted to power division, government of Pakistan.

He said the preparation of bidding package of the project was at final stage and the project would be launched through international competitive bidding in August, 2019 while the developer would be finalized by December this year.

The Sindh government has already earmarked 1530 acres of land for Dhabeji Economic Zone which will facilitate the potential investors of China and other countries to either start new enterprizes or transfer their facilities to Pakistan.

The SEZ will have easy access of Port Qasim enabling raw material import and finished goods export without incurring major inland transportation costs and saving time.

It will also have easy access to Karachi Airport (35 km) via national highway enabling safe travel of foreign workers and management personnel while it will have direct access to the national highway enabling the transportation of goods to upcountry and Central Asian nations utilizing the National Trade Corridor.

The SEZ would provide investment opportunities in various sectors including steel foundries, automotive and auto parts, chemical and pharmaceuticals, consumer electronics engineering, textile and garments, warehousing, building material, and fast moving consumers’ goods.0

Source: Business Insider

Date: 31/7/2019

Chinese firm plans to invest up to $600 million in instant services in Pakistan

With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) all set to introduce foreign capital and advanced technology in the country and create an immense number of jobs, it is clear that the project is going to have a massive impact down the road. Furthermore, it seems to have encouraged a greater amount of Chinese involvement, as shown by the recently revealed plan of a Chinese firm to provide five important services in Pakistan.

Timesaco, a company specializing in instant delivery, cargo services, and cabs, has laid out a business plan to invest $20 million in a whole host of special services in Pakistan, which include taxi service, heavy cargo delivery, orders delivery, moving automated teller machines (ATM) and vehicle advertisement facilities. Additionally, the investment will be bumped up to $600 million in the future.

The announcement was made by Timesaco Chief Operating Officer (COO) Donald Li on Wednesday. He stated that these instant services will be launched in major cities of Pakistan including Karachi, Lahore, Faisalabad, Peshawar, Islamabad, and Rawalpindi, before being introduced in other urban centers.

Apparently, Timesaco has already gone ahead with its pre-launch event in Islamabad a week ago, in which it introduced Buraq (taxi service), Fema (instant delivery) and Cargo+ (city freight service).

Mr. Li emphasized that advanced technology and the power of eCommerce will be employed in implementing these services. Customers can simply download Timesaco’s application from Google Play Store in order to start availing all five of these instant services.

With regards to the taxi service, he said that interested individuals could register their vehicles without any prerequisites whatsoever. Drivers will take away the lion’s share of their earnings i.e. 97 percent, while 2 percent of it will go to the company and the remaining 1 percent will be invested in Drivers Club for the provision of health and education facilities to the drivers’ families.

Source: TechJuice

Date: 26/7/2019

Author: Hamza Zakir

China says willing to expand CPEC framework

BEIJING    –   China is willing to enrich and expand the scope and framework of China-Pakistan Economic Cor­ridor (CPEC) for the country’s scoio-economic de­velopment and to pass on its maximum benefit to the people.

We are firmly committed to promote the con­struction of the CPEC for the benefit of the Paki­stani people,” this was stated by spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry Hua Chunying while commenting on completion of the Sukkur-Multan section of the Peshawar-Karachi Expressway, here at a regular news briefing on Thursday.

She noted that the length of the Sukkur-Multan section is 392 km.

It is the largest transportation infrastructure project of the CPEC and one of its early harvest projects.

According to the spokesperson, the project offi­cially started in August 2016 and was completed ahead of schedule on July 23 this year.

During the construction process, the project cre­ated a large number of employment opportunities for the local area.

The project created about 29,000 jobs and trained a large number of technicians.

China believes, the spokesperson added, the completion of the project will play an impor­tant role in promoting the economic and social development of the two countries, especially Pakistan.

“We are willing to work together with Pakistan to firmly promote the construction of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, continuously enrich and expand the connotation of the corridor, realize the high-quality development of the corridor, and bring more tangible benefits to the people of the two countries and the wider surrounding areas,” she added.

Replying to a question regarding security of the Gulf region, the spokesperson said, peace and stability in the Gulf is vital to the security and development of the entire Middle East and the world.

“The international community should form a synergy to promote the region. Peace and stabil­ity play a constructive role. The Chinese side wel­comes the relevant ideas of Russia and we are willing to strengthen communication and coordi­nation with relevant parties,” she added.

Source: The Nation

Date: 26/7/2019

Relations b/w Pakistan,China unparalleled: NA Speaker

Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser has said that relations between China and Pakistan are unparalleled and complementing each other in various spheres.

He was talking to Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing in Islamabad today (Tuesday).

He said China and Pakistan are partners in progress and the ongoing collaboration in diverse sectors through CPEC would usher in prosperity for both the countries.

Chinese Ambassador said that Pakistan has an unrivalled importance in Chinese foreign policy and the leadership of both countries.

Yao Jing congratulated the Speaker on smooth conduct of Elections in the newly merged tribal districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

He assured that China will extend maximum support for infrastructure development and provision of educational and health facilities in those districts.

Meanwhile, Talking to Chairman Balochistan National Party Sardar Akhtar Mengal in Islamabad today, Asad Qaiser said the government is giving top priority to infrastructure development in Balochistan.

The speaker said sustainable development of Balochistan is imperative for progress and prosperity of Pakistan.

Sardar Akhtar Mengal said development of Balochistan is the development of Pakistan.  He said the people of Balochistan have great expectations from this government.

Source: Radio Pakistan

Date: 23/7/2019

No CPEC document shared with IMF: govt

ISLAMABAD: 

The planning secretary informed a Senate panel on Thursday that the planning and finance ministries had not shared any document related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Senator Sherry Rehman, the chairperson of the Senate Standing Committee on CPEC, said the government’s statement was in contradiction to media reports which stated that the government had shared details of debt incurred on account of CPEC projects as well as other sensitive information with the IMF.

“I am stating on record that no such information has been shared with the IMF,” Planning Secretary Zafar Hassan replied.

Rehman directed the planning ministry that there should be no ambiguity in terms of CPEC projects and stressed the need for transparency.

Planning and Development Minister Khusro Bakhtiar said on the occasion that it had been submitted in writing that no document concerning CPEC had been shared with the IMF.

He added that the Senate committee should play its role in the economic development of the country by embarking upon agendas and ideas which could motivate the government to work diligently for the country.

He said the senate committee should look into issues through the prism of national interest rather than paying heed to false media reports.

The minister maintained the government-to-government loans under CPEC only stood at $6 billion so far while the rest were either commercial ones or taken under other modes.

He pointed out that the government was now focusing on developing business-to-business contacts with China to promote public-private partnership in the country.

“To boost the country’s exports, special incentive packages will be offered especially to international investors,” he said.

“Around 70,000 direct jobs have been created so far under various CPEC projects while the National Vocational Technical Training Centre is doing a great job in preparing thousands of skilled workers required for the second phase of CPEC industrial sector.”

Bakhtiar said ideally Dhabeji and Gwadar Special Economic Zones should be given priority as it was an International practice that there should be more development in areas where there was economic activity.

The minister said upgrading the Railway Main Line (ML-1) was an important project under the second phase of CPEC.

“Its completion will ensure safe, economically viable and speedy transportation of goods from North to South.”

He said a railway connection between Mazar Shareef in Afghanistan and Peshawar was also under consideration.

The minister informed the committee that the Gwadar Master Plan would be finalised by the end of August.

Senator Kauda Babar said traders of Balochistan should be given representation in the CPEC Business Forum. He also pointed out that the grant provided by China to the previous government for Gwadar airport was yet to be spent.

The chairperson of the committee expressed her displeasure over the absence of the Board of Investment chairman from the meeting. She added that a letter would be written to National Assembly about the Board of Investment chairman’s attitude. “If the matter goes to the privilege committee, he [Board of Investment chairman] could lose his job,” she warned.

Source: Express Tribune

Date: 19/7/2019

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Huawei plans $170mln investment in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: Chinese multinational technology company Huawei Group on Wednesday unveiled $170 million investment plan to set up its regional headquarters and upgrade technical support centre in Pakistan.

Huwaei Group Vice President Mark Xueman said Pakistan is a strategic market for the company. “The company will invest around $100 million in the country this year,” Xueman said during a meeting with Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Khusro Bakhtyar.

“Huawei will also set up a regional headquarters in Islamabad at a cost of $55 million that will create job opportunities for young engineers in Pakistan.” Huawei’s official further informed the minister that the company would also invest $15 million more in its technical support centre and it will also hire more workforce for the centre, taking the number of its staff to 800 from 600 this year.

“Huawei is eager to initiate more projects in Pakistan on grant funding from Chinese government,” Xueman said. Huwaei Group Vice President was leading a delegation of businessmen. Minister Bakhtyar assured the delegation of all cooperation in future joint ventures.

Planning minister, while appreciating the company’s continued engagement in the country, said the leading technological company could support the development and upgrading of information and technology sector in Pakistan.

Chinese government initiated $62 billion worth of infrastructure development projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework. Most of the projects pertain to energy sector. While the first stage of CPEC has almost completed, the next stage focuses industrial developments.

Pakistan is fast-growing telecom market with subscribers of mobile phones having crossed the 160 million mark compared with the country’s population of 210 million. Of total subscribers, 68 million use 3G/4G. There are 70 million broadband subscribers.

The country imports millions of dollars of mobile phones to meet the local requirements with manufacturing and assembling of handheld devices not present in the country. Planning minister said Huawei has 25 percent share in the country’s mobile industry and is also the top taxing paying Chinese company in the country.

The minister appreciated Huawei’s engagement with the Higher Education Commission for smart schools project, providing latest information and communications technology equipment.

Bakhtyar underlined a need of exploring new business models for future projects and joint ventures in the country. “Huawei can contribute to the e-governance initiative as well in centralising data to improve efficiency and productivity.”

The minister said Huawei could support IT start-up projects to benefit the youth in this important sector. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Project Director CPEC Hassan Daud and senior officials of the ministry were also present at the meeting.

Source: The News

Date: 18/7/2019

CPEC authority being established, says Bakhtiar

ISLAMABAD: 

The government has decided to set up China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority to upgrade the existing structure for speedy and focused execution of the projects.

This was announced by Minister for Planning and Development Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar while addressing a joint news conference along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Information and Broadcasting Firdous Ashiq Awan here on Saturday.

He said a bill to this effect will soon be introduced in parliament.

The minister said the authority will function under Ministry of Planning and Development and specialists in various sectors will work with a focused and scientific approach.

He said the two countries have also decided to establish Pakistan-China Business Council with a view to include people from the private sector to implement industrial and agricultural development projects under the second phase of CPEC. He said Pakistan has shared names of leading industrialists with the Chinese side for the purpose.

Bakhtiar noted that $8.5 billion ML-1 railway track project has been divided into three phases and that the preliminary design of the project was finalised during premier’s visit to China. He said the project will contribute to materializing the dream of regional connectivity through Pakistan.

The minister said Gwadar Master Plan was being finalized under which the city will emerge as an attractive smart port in the world. He observed that various projects were being executed in Gwadar under CPEC.

Bakhtiar maintained that the chairman of National Development Reform Commission of China will visit Pakistan in October this year.

The planning minister said the government was committed to all projects and agreements under CPEC. He said Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf (PTI) government had signed agreements with China in agriculture, industrial and socio-economic development sectors under the second phase of CPEC.

Speaking about Prime Minister Imran Khan’s upcoming visit to United States, Bakhtiar said that the tour will strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries and help in sorting out differences.

He said that exchanges at public-level through different programmes help Pakistan and US to understand each other.

Bakhtiar said that Pakistan had immense potential and due to its geographical importance, special attention was being paid on human resources.

He emphasised that contacts between the universities and industries must be enhanced.

Source: Express Tribune

Date: 15/7/2019