LAHORE: An agreement was signed between the federal government and Exim Bank of China here on Monday for provision of funds for the Orange Line Metro Train project.

Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif was chief guest at the ceremony. Under the agreement, Exim Bank would provide Rs162 billion as soft loan for the metro train. Federal Economic Affairs Secretary Tariq Bajwa and Exim Bank Vice President Sun Ping signed the documents.

Federal Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, the chargé d’affaires of Chinese Embassy in Pakistan, Pakistan’s Ambassador to China Khalid Masood, provincial ministers, lawmakers, chief secretary, prominent industrialists, bankers, intellectuals, columnists and senior officers were present.

Shahbaz said: “Today is a historic day towards provision of a most modern transport system in Pakistan. This project is a milestone in Pak-China friendship.”

The project, he said, would facilitate 250,000 commuters daily and their number would gradually increase.

To be completed within 27 months, the project would result in transfer of Chinese technology as its civil works contract had been given to the Punjab government.

The chief minister hoped that China Railway and the China North Industries Corporation (Norinco) would subcontract electrical and mechanical works to Pakistani companies. He said the agreement for metro train had been signed in May last year but sit-ins delayed the project.

Finance Minister Dar congratulated the chief minister on the signing of an agreement for funding of a big project for infrastructure. He lauded Shahbaz’s efforts for development of the province.

Minister Iqbal hoped the mega project would help boost the economy as well as confidence of foreign investors. He said projects such as the Orange Line would be seen in other major towns in the future.

Sun Ping said no effort would be spared for completion of the project within the stipulated period.

Published in Dawn, December 22nd, 2015

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