BEIJING: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government on Monday signed 11 memoranda of understanding (MoUs) with Chinese companies for development projects in the province under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
According to a press release, MoUs were signed for five projects costing up to Rs60 billion. These projects are related to CPEC Tower, construction of a new bus terminal at Chamkani, Ring Road missing link, Health City at Regi Model Town, and Commercial and Residential Reconstruction Centre.
Local Government Secretary Jamal Shah signed the MoUs on behalf of the KP government. Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, Minister for Local Government Inayatullah and Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) Director General Salim Watto were also present on the occasion.
These projects will be jointly executed by PDA and Chinese companies, the press release said.
The construction of the Ring Road missing link will cost up to Rs12bn while that of the new general bus stand at Chamkani will cost Rs10bn. The construction of CPEC Tower will be carried out at Rs5bn while that of Health City at Regi Model Township is estimated to cost up to Rs22bn.
The initial estimate for the construction cost of Commercial and Residential Reconstruction Centre is around Rs11bn.
PC-1s of these projects are complete, it said. The Chinese authorities will soon visit Pakistan to finalise the execution process, said Mr Watto.
Other development projects are related to information technology, special economic zones, power plants, oil refinery, infrastructure and e-commerce.
Speaking at the MoU signing ceremony, Mr Khattak invited Chinese companies to take advantage of the investment-friendly environment in KP.
“We have set the stage to begin the journey of industrialisation in the province. We need the support of our iron brothers to put the province on the path of development and economic growth,” he said.
Appreciating the One Belt, One Road Initiative, he said the CPEC is its flagship component and stressed that business, cultural and social cooperation between Pakistan and China should be further enhanced.
Mr Khattak said a strong security force comprising 4,500 personnel has been established for the protection of foreign workforce, including Chinese nationals.
While emphasising the importance of the CPEC, China-Pakistan Friendship Association President Sha Zhu Kang said the success of One Belt, One Road initiative is linked with the CPEC, which he termed the pilot project of the grand scheme.
He said the proposed corridor stretching from Kashgar to Gwadar will bring about economic and social progress.
He said Chinese companies are already working in KP and providing job opportunities to a large number of locals.
Ambassador Khalid said that around 86 projects, including those in energy, agriculture and infrastructure sectors, will be presented for investment and cooperation. He said the KP chief minister’s visit to China, second in the last four months, underscores the importance of the CPEC and Sino-Pak relations.
The ambassador said all political parties in Pakistan are on the same page as far as Sino-Pak relations are concerned.
He said the CPEC is showing steady progress. Now the Gwadar port is operational and energy and infrastructure projects are being completed in time, he added.
Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2017