CPEC enters second phase, says SAPM

Tuesday, Sep 14, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on CPEC Khalid Mansoor on Monday said Pakistan is committed to taking forward the second phase of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by making it a safe corridor to enhance bilateral trade ties.He commented that he is optimist about the mega project as the Chinese authorities have agreed to hold the 10th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting in the last quarter of this month.

Addressing his maiden press conference here after taking his new charge, the SAPM said security is a big concern for the Chinese. The chief executives of eight companies established in Faisalabad Industrial Estate and Manufacturing Company (FIEDMC) the CPEC prioritized SpecialEconomic Zone (SEZ) in Punjab were present on the occasion.

The 10th annual meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) on CPEC was earlier scheduled for July 16 but was postponed due to certain security issues. Khalid Mansoor said there were nine Joint Working Groups (JWGs) of the JCC in various sectors including Agriculture, Energy, Infrastructure, Science and Technology and others and various new projects in all these sectors would come under consideration in the meeting. He said the international forces who were against the mega project would fail in their nefarious designs. He said the first phase brought an investment of $25 billion out of which projects worth $13 billion have been completed while $12 billion projects are in the pipeline which would likely be completed within a year.

The magnitude of the second phase, he said, is huge as a variety of sectors are involved that would attract huge foreign investment besides thousands of new jobs for locals.

He said the first SEZ under CPEC-FIEDMC has been functional for three years and during the period, a number of Chinese companies have brought investment of $845 million. “The chief executive officers (CEOs) of the Chinese companies met the prime minister on Monday and informed him about the progress of their companies,” he said and added a Chinese company which was working on prefabricated homes has established its set up in the FIEDC with an investment of $20 million which would start making homes in Pakistan soon.

Furthermore, he said, another company has established its electric bikes and three-wheelers manufacturing plant in the SEZ at an area of five acres, which has also started its production. Likewise, a Chinese company has established an LED bulb manufacturing plant with an investment of $18 million. Another ceramic tiles manufacturing Chinese company has set up its plant with $300 million at an area of 120 acres, he added. Similarly, an international mobile company OPPO has set up its plant in the SEZ.

He said a Chinese company – Challenge which prepares high value apparel for world renowned companies such as Adidas, Rebock and American Eagle has also established its plant which has recorded $150 million exports. It aims at increasing the level of exports up to $450 million in a year.

The four prioritized SEZs, Rashakai in KP, FIEDMC in Punjab, Dhabeji in Sindh and Gwadar in Balochistan, would be provided a Plug and Play execution environment to ensure speedy development of industrial sector, he added. To a question, the SAPM said an action plan has been made to resolve issues in the projects facing delays. He said since the CPEC is of national importance, all political parties have supported the project. To another question, Mansoor said that for setting up industrial units in FIEDMC, Chinese investors were allowed both options either to get the land on lease or purchase the land on the ownership basis. He said transparency was ensured in all projects under the CPEC. “I have been involved in power projects worth over $5 billion but never have witnessed any kickbacks in the projects.” He dispelled the impression that Chinese companies are importing labour from China, saying that a large number of Pakistanis are recruited in the CPEC projects, adding that skill training is being imparted to them.