ISLAMABAD: A Senate panel on Thursday expressed concern over the slow pace of development on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and dissatisfaction being expressed by the Chinese companies over the negligible progress over the past three years.
While presiding over the Senate committee on Planning and Development, its Chairman Saleem Mandviwalla said the Chinese weren’t satisfied with the pace of labor on CPEC and no progress on the portfolio was seen during the last three years. “They are crying”, said Mr Mandviwalla, adding the “Chinese ambassador has complained to me that you simply have destroyed CPEC and no work was wiped out the past three years,” he said.
Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor also endorsed Mr Mandviwalla saying the Chinese companies weren’t satisfied with the government’s institutions and their pace of labor . He said he himself wasn’t satisfied with the progress of labor on Gwadar Airport and guaranteed the panel that things were now on recovery mode.
Mr Mansoor, who recently joined the govt after it removed former CPEC Authority chief Asim Saleem Bajwa, briefed the committee on the problems faced by the investors in terms of compliance with investment and agreement of CPEC – Phase 1 Power Projects. These included payment problems with independent power projects (IPPs), long outstanding overdues, establishment of revolving account for automatic payments and increase in withholding (WHT) on sponsors’ dividends post investment to 25pc from 7.5pc.
He said the authorities now decide to found out a investment facilitation centre to supply One Window Operation to all or any Chinese investors. He said 135 Chinese companies were operating in Pakistan on CPEC and other projects and top priority was now to revive the arrogance of these performing on CPEC.
On the financial and physical progress of all major CPEC projects, the committee was informed that 21 projects of $15.7bn were completed. Of this, 10 were power projects of 5,320MW and HVDC cable amounting to $9.6bn, five infrastructure — Roads, Mass Transit and optical fiber amounting to $5.8bn, two projects concerning Gwadar Port and free port and City plan amounting to $300 million, four Social Economic Development amounting to $140m. a complete of 31 projects amounting to $9.3bn are under implementation and 36 projects worth $28.4bn are into account .
Mr Mandviwalla expressed resentment that proposals and proposals of the committee on various development projects at provincial and federal level weren’t considered by the design Ministry for inclusion in PSDP.
Planning Minister Asad Umar said the ultimate approval of the PSDP projects was given by the National Economic Council (NEC). “The NEC approval is final,” he added, explaining that March 31 next year would be the last date for any project to be taken to the NEC. The committee directed that relevant sections should pre-plan for subsequent year in order that projects required at federal and provincial levels might be sent to the design ministry before February.