Western route under CPEC expected to be completed by December 2016
Work is speedily underway on the Western route under the portfolio of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects involving new building of 650-km road from Gwadar to Sorab, which would link Gwadar with Quetta, Qila Saifullah and Zhob. The work was already being carried out by Frontier Works Organization (FWO) for last two years and is expected to be completed by December 2016. The rest of the Western route, which will link Gwadar with Kashgar, China, through Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) is 2,518-km in length. Under the CPEC pertaining to transport and infrastructure, Gwadar Port, energy and the proposed industrial parks and new economic zones are major projects. There is great potential in Pakistan’s infrastructure sector, which can prove essential component for a sustainable economic development.
After CPEC completion, Pakistan would have road and rail access not only to China but other countries in the region and would have links up to the Central Asian States, which are rich in natural resources like gas, high quality coal and cotton. CPEC would contribute in slashing the cost of doing business and ensure ease of doing business in Pakistan.
President-designate Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) Jin Liqun met Finance Minister Ishaq Dar recently and said that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project is going to benefit not only Pakistan but also the entire region. According to him, AIIB’s first choice of financing would be energy, infrastructure, transport and urban development. The bank wants close co-operation with public and private sectors of Pakistan and soon senior officials of bank would be visiting to Pakistan to finalize modalities for co-operation in various sectors of the economy. AIIB would also be working with other multilaterals like the World Bank and Asian Development Bank for the infrastructure development of the region.
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was optimistic about financing for Diamar-Basha Dam by AIIB, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and Asian Development Bank and said funding would be greatly appreciated for the project with a power generation capacity of 4500 megawatt. The Minister added that PC-1 has been approved and land is being acquired for the project. We have decided to initiate, concurrently, work on both Diamer-Bhasha and Dasu dams for storage of water and power generation.
The Finance Minister said AIIB would be inaugurated in the second quarter of 2016 and Pakistan was one of 57 signatory countries of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) in June 2015 for establishment of the bank.
The Finance Minister said there is no condition on AIIB for making investment in CPEC as the project was envisaged and finalized much before the establishment of the bank. The Minister said initial capital of the bank is expected to be US$100 billion and every member country is to make contribution according to its GDP size.
For the first time, the business community has been extended all kind of support and facilitation to the government to make it a major player for the economic prosperity and accelerated development in the country including the execution of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), which will prove a game changer for the entire region.
Social, economic change
The Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Mian Muhammad Idrees said the private sector has been taken into confidence and placed as a big partner for an economic and social uplift in the country. Through representative trade bodies especially the FPCCI, Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has kept regular his personal interaction with the trade and industrial community of the country besides issuing directives time and again to the concerned government high-ups to ensure a strong coordination, and provide maximum facilities and incentives to the private sector declaring them as the engine of the economy and development, he said.
Highlighting the importance of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Mian Idrees said this would greatly help bring an economic and social change in the country and other countries in the region would also benefit a lot. He expressed his satisfaction over the launch of ‘much awaited’ CPEC and said this should have been done at least three decades earlier. It is very positive development that the entire nation stands behind CPEC after addressing the reservations shown by certain quarters of the society. The entire world sees CPEC very positively. However, he regretted, certain countries having impression of losing their business and were not happy and were creating hurdles in execution of CPEC.
The FPCCI Chief advised the business community to prepare and actively participate in execution of the projects making CPEC and then take full benefit of economic activities to be generated within and outside the country. “On its completion, CPEC would give birth to huge economic activities within and outside our borders up to Central Asian States. The imports and exports would witness a boost. There would be a big transportation business for our community,” he said.
After completion, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will serve as a primary gateway to trade among China, Middle East and Africa through Pakistan.
Particularly, the oil from the Middle East could be offloaded at Gawadar, which is located just outside the mouth of the Persian Gulf. The oil would be transported to China through the Balochistan in Pakistan. Such a link would vastly cut the 12,000-kilometres route that Mideast oil supplies must now take to reach Chinese ports. The CPEC is really a game changer for the region and is set to change the economic outlook and Pakistan and China would be real beneficiaries.