ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said on Monday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a window of opportunity that would usher in socioeconomic development, particularly in the less developed provinces of Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

In a meeting with a group of Chinese investors, he said that the corridor was a game-changer and all provinces would reap benefit from it.

“CPEC is a fusion of multiple development projects aiming at prosperity and well-being of the people of the country and the region at large,” the prime minister said.

The Chinese investors expressed interest in developing hydropower projects in Pakistan.

Appreciating economic policies of the government, they expressed the confidence that investment regime in Pakistan would attract more foreign direct investment.

Chinese investors show interest in hydel projects

The prime minister said that hydro-power sector was priority of his government.

He said Pakistan was resolving its energy crisis by investing in different sources of energy, including solar, thermal and hydro.

The government had obtained billions of dollars from international financial institutions for the construction of Dasu dam in KP, he added.

Mr Sharif said that future investment by the China Three Gorges International Corporation in hydel energy sector would enable his government to overcome the energy shortfall.

The meeting was informed that a joint working group was being set up under the CPEC framework. Under it, all provinces are being consulted to seek technically sound and financially viable recommendations for industrial and economic zones to be set up along the corridor.

The meeting was told that priority energy projects under the CPEC included 1,320MW coal-fired plants in Karachi, Sahiwal, Rahimyar Khan and Tharparkar, 300MW plant in Gwadar, 660MW plant in Hub, 1,000MW Quaid-i-Azam Solar Park in Bahawalpur, 100MW Wind Farm in Jhimpir (Sindh) and 50MW wind farms in Bhambore, Jhimpir and Nooriabad.

Plans for Gwadar

Mr Minister Sharif said that Gwadar was being developed as an international free port and the government was undertaking several projects. The Eastbay Expressway-II, expansion of multipurpose terminal at the port, infrastructure development for free economic zone and export processing zones, special free zone for the CPEC, water treatment and supply facilities, hospital, technical and vocational institute, New Gwadar International Airport and development of smart city are parts of the uplift projects.

The meeting was informed that the sites for economic zones in KP and Balochistan had been identified by the Board of Investment. The proposed sites are located in Mansehra, Noshehra, Hattar, Ghazi, Dera Ismail Khan, Kohat, Karak and Bannu in KP and Turbat, Khuzdar, Dasht, Bostan, Qila Saifullah and Zhob in Balochistan.

The prime minister will announce the names of selected sites in the two provinces after consultation with the provincial governments concerned and political leadership, the Chinese were told.

They were informed that some existing roads were being upgraded to interconnect different areas. The 650km Gwadar-Surab road is being completed on priority to link Gwadar port with other parts of the country. The upgradation of Quetta-Dera Ismail Khan road is also imperative in view of its importance.

The meeting discussed CPEC-related projects in KP and was told that the province would play a role of trade and logistic passage zone. Multiple projects will be executed in KP under the CPEC network, including rail and road networks like 81km Swat motorway, industrial and economic zones, mineral processing and development zones and projects in oil and gas, telecommunication, agriculture, human resource development and other sectors.

It was informed that the CPEC-Energy Actively Promoted Project included Balochistan’s Gadani Power Park Project and 660MW Hubco Coal Power Plant, Salt Range Mine Mouth Power Project, 1,100MW Kohala Hydel Project in Azad Kasmir, 100MW Pakistan Wind Farm in Jhimpir (Sindh), Thar Mine Mouth Oracle in Tharparkar and 1,320MW Muzaffargarh Coal Power Project.

Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2016


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