Resolve to rejuvenate CPEC

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PRIME Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was set to enter the next business-to-business (B2B) mode after the productive government-level phase.

Chairing a review meeting on CPEC, the Premier said the government had rejuvenated the multi-billion dollar project that faced a hiatus during the previous government’s tenure.

The meeting focused on infrastructure projects, particularly Main Line-1 (ML-1), Karachi Circular Railway and Karakoram Highway.

The project related to the production of 10,000MW electricity from solar and wind sources also came under discussion.

There can be no two opinions that the CPEC is instrumental in accelerating the pace of socio-economic development of Pakistan and has become a major factor in stimulating economic activities in the far-flung and backward regions of the country.

There is, therefore, logic to pursue the initiative with the same zeal as people witnessed in the initial years of its launching and implementation.

The Prime Minister has justifiably complained about the lack of desired progress during tenure of PTI Government but rejuvenation is also not picking up despite assumption of power by a party that conceived and launched the project.

Understandably, the country is under great pressure from some countries and multilateral donors on the issue of smooth execution of the initiative but the government and the policy-makers will have to take a firm decision keeping in view the economic interests of the country.

The country has already suffered a lot due to lacklustre implementation of the CPEC as in the case of only one project – ML-I – the cost has surged by 45pc due to inaction and indecisiveness on the part of Pakistani authorities.

We have been hearing about the second phase of the CPEC but the progress is confined to rhetoric and no physical activity is being witnessed vis-à-vis projects in various sectors.

The Prime Minister has also talked about B2B mode, which essentially entails proper and expeditious implementation of vital projects of economic zones but progress on them is also marred by unresolved issues.

There is no doubt that the Chinese companies are willing to invest in different sectors but investment would not come in a void and special attention will have to be focused on facilitation of investors and completion of all projects linked to optimal operation of Gwadar Port.

We hope tangible progress would be made on all issues relating to CPEC during the coming 11th session of the JCC and the forthcoming visit of the Prime Minister to China.

 

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