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‘My priority is to regain Chinese confidence’: SAPM assures Senate panel

SAPM CPEC Affairs informed 21 projects worth $15.2 billion have been completed. Source: obortunity.

ISLAMABAD: The Senate Standing Committee on Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives has directed the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority to complete the under implementation projects on fast track basis by regaining confidence of Chinese companies.

“According to my personal sources, the Chinese are not happy with the current progress of CPEC projects as they have approached me to help remove the bottlenecks,” Chairman of the Committee Senator Saleem Mandviwala said while presiding over a meeting of the committee.

He asked Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor to take the responsibility of early completion of under-construction projects and removing all bottlenecks in way of approval of the under consideration mega projects.

“My number one priority is to regain the Chinese confidence,” Khalid Mansoor said adding that in this regard he had personally met with representatives of 40 out of 135 Chinese companies working in Pakistan.

“I will take responsibility of implementation of the projects and I will go myself to all the concerned ministries and divisions to implement the CPEC projects,” he added.

Mandviwala deplored the government departments were very slow and they needed to be pushed to expedite the implementation process.

With respect to the overall CPEC progress, Khalid Mansoor informed that so far 21 projects worth $15.2 billion had been completed while 21 projects worth of $9.3 billion were under implementation. Similarly 36 projects of $28 billion were under consideration.

The meeting was informed that under the CPEC socio-economic development project, the Chinese government had announced a grant of $1 billion but unfortunately due to the lukewarm response of the provinces and the departments, only $50 million out of $1 billion could be utilised so far.

Saleem Mandviwala said until the outstanding dues of $1.2 billion were not paid to the Chinese power producers, they would not go ahead to sign more power plants. The meeting was further informed that a competitive bidding would have to be arranged for the ML-1 railway project.

The chair said as per Chinese estimation, the project’s worth is over $9 billion however according to Pakistan Railways, the project could be completed at a cost of $6.8 billion.

Regarding security issues, the SAPM informed that after the recent security attacks, he briefed the Chinese authorities in detail and after the briefing, the Chinese had expressed satisfaction over the security situation.

Saleem Mandviwala questioned how a new project could be included in the current fiscal year’s development budget. Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Asad Umar responded that once the development budget is approved by National Economic Council (NEC), it was not possible to add any new project. However, he said to include any new project in the next development budget, it should be presented before March 31.