ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China on Wednesday vowed to expedite Gwadar developments and improve cooperation in agriculture and industrial sectors under the corridor projects, but restrained from giving deadlines for completion.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government is also giving indication that third-party countries such as Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries are showing interest for investing in Pakistan. Saudi Arabia is going to construct oil refinery having capacity of 300,000 barrels per day in Gwadar to export surplus to China.
Nothing on account of deadlines related to CPEC projects could be shared with the media through official announcement made by the Planning Commission.
Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing met with Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on the eve Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Ben Salman’s visit to Pakistan with expectation that he would finalise memoranda of understanding in the range of $15 to $20 billion during his stay. It would be the second largest commitment from any country after China that pledged $46 billion in investment under the much-trumpeted CPEC.
The statement said the Chinese envoy called on the planning minister to discuss matters of mutual interest, including progress on CPEC.
Bakhtyar emphasised the need to expedite progress on Gwadar projects, such as New International Airport, a hospital, vocational institutes and a power plant. The projects would create conducive environment for future investment and help in upgrading facilities for local population.
“Ground is set to attract more trilateral investment here in future,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Stakeholders’ consensus has been achieved on Gwadar City Master Plan and the document would be finalised at the earliest.
The minister said Chinese experts on socioeconomic development are visiting Pakistan this month to discuss cooperation in agriculture, education, medical treatment, poverty alleviation, water supply and vocational training projects.
Planning minister hailed Chinese government for financial support to initiate pilot projects for poverty alleviation and informed that Pakistan side will identify sites for workable as well as impact creating projects with the input of provincial governments in the same sector.
Bakhtyar said all measures would be taken to fast-track the industrial cooperation by ensuring development of special economic zones. Ground breaking of the Rashakai SEZ will be done soon, he informed.
The minister said federal government would ensure utilities, such as power, gas supplies and road infrastructure to all the special economic zones (SEZs) under CPEC, aiming at speedy development of the projects.
Bakhtyar asked Chinese government to encourage state-owned and private sector companies to explore investment opportunities in Pakistan.
(This news/article originally appeared in The News on February 14th, 2019)