Ahsan to visit China next week to discuss stalled CPEC projects

ISLAMABAD     -     Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal will visit China next week to jump start the stalled China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects including Azad Pattan and Kohala hydropower projects.

We have started work on the stalled project, and I am visiting China next week to discuss two or three stalled projects, the minister said while talking to The Nation/Nawa-e- Waqt here.

These projects are ready for the last three years, but work is stalled on it, he said.

Regarding delay in agreement with IMF, Ahsan Iqbal said, “We have met all the condition of IMF agreed by Imran Khan, as we are bound to.”

IMF wants the guarantee of Pakistan’s friendly countries regarding their pledges and we are using diplomatic channels to get it done, he added.

It is worth to mention that some friendly states had made pledges to support Pakistan during the IMF’s review and now the IMF is asking the guarantees from those countries.

However, he made it clear that the country cannot run on loans from IMF or help of the friendly countries, as we have to develop our own resources.

When asked about $1.5 billion dues of the Chinese IPPs under CPEC, he said that they are trying to resolve it. The minister said that all new projects with China are being done under the Chinese currency. It also includes the ML-I project of Pakistan Railways which is being done through RMB, he added.

For the last 10 months we all are extraordinary focusing on the stabilisation of economy. Our first focus is to stop the slide in the economy. After stability the government will be able to control inflation and will reduce the prices of gas and electricity.

He said that during PML-N previous tenure projects worth $29 billion were completed or were being started under CPEC.

The second phase from 2020 to 2025 was to start industrial cooperation, but not a single industrial zone could be created during the PTI period, he added. If we had paid attention to this, it was expected that these SEZs would have brought up to $40 billion investment to Pakistan during this period.

He said that nine CPEC special economic zones (SEZs), which were supposed to be operationalised in 2020, have been delayed by almost for four years by the previous PTI government.

After coming to power last year we have started paying attention to these SEZs and other stalled projects of CPEC. The first SEZ will be operationalised next year, he added.

He said that they jump started the stalled CPEC projects, and the other day the Prime Minister had inaugurated coal fired plant in Thar.

“I am going to China next week to discuss two to three projects with China which are ready but work was stopped on them.”

The projects which are ready but stalled included Azad Pattan and Kohala Hydropower projects and some IT related projects, he added.

Similarly, for Gwadar the supply of 100 megawatts of electricity from Iran has been started. We have laid the transmission line for this in just eight months, he added.

He said that total supply of electricity to Gwadar will reach to 180MW soon.

In response to a query regarding transfer of pledged money to Pakistan for the rehabilitation of flood affectees, the minister said that $2.20 billion have been utilised so far.

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