Progress on the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been well ahead of schedule and so far these schemes have created up to 13,000 new jobs, China’s Ambassador to Islamabad Sun Weidong revealed while addressing a forum organized by the Express Media Group in Islamabad earlier this week.
The ambassador appreciated the pace of work at the CPEC projects and shared that both China and Pakistan have agreed to tweak the priority list of projects by as per their significance. The more significant projects, the ambassador explained, shall be upgraded and will be categorized as ‘actively promoted projects’ – projects to be completed over the course of next five years.
Speakers addressed various challenges the CPEC is encountering and discussed the opportunities the $54 billion investment package would bring to the country.
In February, the Energy Expert Group agreed to upgrade the Hubco coal-fired power plant (660-megawatt) to the prioritized list; the Rahim Yar Khan power project (1,320MW) however has been moved to a lower position at the list. Moreover, the group upgraded the Oracle power project to the priority list.
The Chinese ambassador opined that CPEC has already entered into the implementation phase, and so far 18 under-construction projects have created up to 13,000 new jobs for the local residents. Mr. Weidong further added that both countries have agreed to set up a new list of priority projects – medium and long term proposals. He noted that this development has provided a bullish impetus to the CPEC implementation.
The ambassador said that many energy projects would become commissioned later this year and the next year, while construction on industrial zones would get underway soon. The medium-term plan would go into effect this year, the ambassador added.
Ahsan Iqbal, the Minister of Planning, National Reforms, and Development, also addressed the gathering. The minister underscored the need for early commencement of the New Gawadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway. Both of these projects are transformative in making Gawadar port fully operational, he maintained.