Chinese companies are irritated by the slow pace of work on CPEC. On Thursday, a Senate panel expressed concern about the slow pace of development on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and the dissatisfaction expressed by Chinese companies with the corridor’s scant progress over the last three years.
Saleem Mandviwalla stated that the Chinese were dissatisfied with the pace of work on CPEC and that the portfolio had made no progress in the last three years. “They are in tears,” Mr Mandviwalla said, adding that the “Chinese ambassador has complained to me that you have destroyed CPEC and that nothing has been accomplished in the last three years.”
Special Assistant also endorsed Mr Mandviwalla to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor. They stated that Chinese companies were dissatisfied with the government’s institutions and pace of work. He said that he was not happy with the progress of the Gwadar Airport project and assured the panel that things had stabilised.
Mr Mansoor, who joined the government following the ouster of former CPEC Authority chief Asim Saleem Bajwa, briefed the committee on the issues confronting investors regarding compliance with investment and agreement requirements for CPEC – Phase 1 Power Projects. These included payment issues with independent power producers (IPPs), long-overdue overdrafts, the establishment of a revolving account for automatic payments, and an increase to 25% from 7.5pc of sponsors’ post-investment dividends.
The adviser assures the Senate panel that the situation has stabilised.
He stated that the authorities now intend to establish an investment facilitation centre to provide a single point of contact for all Chinese investors. He said that 135 Chinese companies were operating in Pakistan on CPEC and other projects. The top priority now was to re-establish the confidence of those involved in the project.
They informed the committee that it had completed 21 projects totalling $15.7 billion. Ten of these were power projects totalling 5,320MW and a high-voltage direct current transmission line worth $9.6 billion, five infrastructure projects totalling $5.8 billion in the road, mass transit, and optical fibre, two projects totalling $300 million in Gwadar Port and Free Zone and City Master Plan, and four social-economic development projects totalling $140 million. Thirty-one projects worth $9.3 billion are currently being implemented, while 36 projects worth $28.4 billion are being considered.
Mr Mandviwalla expressed resentment that the Planning Ministry did not consider the committee’s proposals and recommendations for various development projects for inclusion in PSDP at the provincial and federal levels.
Asad Umar, Minister of Planning, stated that the National Economic Council gave final approval to the PSDP projects (NEC). “The NEC approval is final,” he added, noting that no project may be brought to the NEC after March 31 next year. The committee directed that relevant sections plan for the coming year to submit required federal and provincial projects to the planning ministry by February.
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