Wed, 18 May 2022

Islamabad [Pakistan], May 8 (ANI): In the past seven years, Pakistan could only complete three China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Gwadar while one-dozen schemes costing nearly USD 2 billion remain unfinished including those of water supply and electricity.

The CPEC was launched as part of the bigger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in 2015 with a value of USD 46 billion.

Till now, only three schemes have been completed by the CPEC authority, namely Gwadar Smart Port City Master Plan, Physical Infrastructure of Gwadar Port and the Free Zone Phase-1 and Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute, The Express Tribune reported.

The Smart Port City Master plan is costing USD 4 million, the Physical Infrastructure of Gwadar Port and the Free Zone Phase-1 is worth USD 300 million while the PAK-China project has been built with a USD 10 million Chinese grant, according to a report sent by APEC Authority.

The CPEC Authority, which Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal wants to wrap up, gave the status update report to the new government last month.

CPEC remained dormant during most of the time of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government but lately, there had been some progress after the last political regime brought in Khalid Mansoor as special assistant to the PM on CPEC affairs. Yet, he could not take these schemes across the finishing line, reported The Express Tribune.

The road-link project namely the USD 179 million Eastbay Expressway, which connects the port with the free zone and the city, is still under-implementation scheme, although on documents the project is 99 per cent completed. China has provided interest-free loans for the scheme. The CPEC Authority expects that the project will be completed by June.

Meanwhile, the water supply and distribution network project worth USD 72 million is still 65 per cent completed, which should have been readied by 2017.

In 2016, Pakistan had requested the National Development Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China to provide a grant for the project but the Beijing said that they have to wait for two years for approval and the country could not afford to wait that long, The Express Tribune reported.

The report revealed that Gwadar's water requirements by 2020 would be 20 million gallons per day, as against the earlier supply of only two million.

In addition, two other schemes, USD 14 million worth of 1.2 million gallons per day desalination plant in Gwadar remained at a very initial stage of work, with only 3 per cent work done. The government expected that the project could be ready before the end of the current year.

The second project which was USD 32 million worth five million gallons per day desalination plant remained at the planning stage, according to the CPEC Authority.

The New Gwadar International Airport which also should have been completed a few years ago is still under the implementation stage and hardly 36 per cent of work was done on the scheme, according to The Express Tribune citing CPEC Authority, even though China provided USD 230 million grant for the project.

Hardly 20 per cent of work has been done in the Pak-China Friendship Hospital, Gwadar. Under this project, 50-beds hospital will be upgraded to 150 beds. Despite the importance of this project for the local population, it did not come on the radar of the previous PTI government.

The Gwadar Airport and Gwadar Hospital projects had also faced problems in importing certain steel materials which attracted anti-dumping duties.

The USD 285 million scheme for the Infrastructure of Gwadar Free Zone Phase-II was only 3 per cent complete, according to the CPEC Authority, as reported by The Express Tribune.

The CPEC Authority progress report is in line with an assessment of the Board of Investment that wrote to former Prime Minister Imran Khan that "long being marketed as the centrepiece of CPEC, Gwadar has yet to reach the heights of expected industrial development that can serve as a catalyst for domestic and foreign investment".

"A ground visit to the Gwadar Free Zone revealed that the present area of the zone is neither suitable nor sufficient for establishing heavy industry," it added. (ANI)

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