CPEC will help fetch $150b investment in Pakistan

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Shahrukh Syed

Islamabad—China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), once it gets completed, will help Pakistan attract huge investment of $150 billion, top officials of Planning Commission told Pakistan Observer.
Pakistan will dawn in the global landscape as sound economy with the $150 billion estimated investment, as the country is to become the investment destination for whole world. The big economies, currently shy from investing in the country, but after the CPEC is completed will rush to Pakistan.
“This means that CPEC will prove a real game changer not only for Pakistan, but also for the whole region.”
Dispelling the impression developed by some political parties that western route is not part of CPEC, the officials said that the Nawaz government is too serious about building the western route as it is very much part of the CPEC. They said that the western route will be completed by 2018.
They said that seriousness of the government can be gauged by the fact that the amount Rs49.5 billion has been allocated under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) in the current financial year 2016-17 for the completion of the western route of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
In a new development, the envelop of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been increased to more than $51.5 billion, as China and the manila based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has agreed to lend $8bn to upgrade the main railway line from Karachi to Peshawar, according to a federal minister.
Beijing has agreed to provide Pakistan with a $5.5b concessional loan to upgrade and modernise the Karachi-Lahore main railway line called ML-1.
In addition, ADB will extend financing of $2.5b for the Lahore-Peshawar railway track.
“Both loans will carry less than two per cent interest rate. Both are concessional loans. However, the officials declined to discuss specifics of the lending programme, saying the Economic Affairs Division is still busy finalising the terms and conditions.
The original $46b CPEC included about $3.56b financing for the railway network, which has now increased to $8b, owing to which the volume of CPEC has increased to $51.5 billion.
They said the Karachi-Peshawar railway line processed 75pc of the passenger and cargo traffic, but its efficiency has dropped to 60-80 kilometres per hour. That is because of a continuous deterioration during the long tenure of former president Pervez Musharraf, they said, adding that the track, signalling system and bridges were in bad shape.
The refurbishment and upgradation of the main line will cost $8b and take five to six years to complete. This will revive its efficiency to 120-160 kilometres per hour. It will be upgraded in a manner that it will accommodate fast-moving trains, reduce the cost of production and increase the competitiveness of Pakistani products.
The main line will then be expanded in the next phase to link Gwadar with Peshawar and then Havelian, Abbottabad, with Khunjerab.

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