KARACHI: Following the inclusion of new projects including Karachi Circular Railway and others, the investments under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) have now extended to $62billion, said Governor Sindh Muhammad Zubair.
Talking to media on the sidelines of PACRA-DAGONG conference on “Infrastructure Demand and Financing – The road ahead” held at local hotel here, he said that the CPEC investment was initially estimated to US$46billion then it was revised to US$55billion and now it had been extended to US$62billion after inclusion of new projects including industrial zones, Karachi Circular Railway and others.
He answered that he invited Jamaat-e-Islami during its agitation to initiate dialog with KE in order to resolve the issue.
Earlier in his speech, he said that the Karachi, which was the financial hub of the country, was declared the most dangerous city in world before June 2013 but now the law and order situation of the city had improved drastically after the surgical operation, which was started with the support of all stakeholders. “Having improved law and order situation, my job is to showcase the potential of Karachi to the global companies to attract investments for the city,” he said and adding that federal government was now doing infrastructure development projects in the city including K-IV water project, Lyari Expressway and Green Line Metro Bus project, which was expected to be completed by the end of current year and hoped that more projects for Karachi would be announced soon. He also lamented that Karachi, which was known to be the modern city of the country till 80s, remained far behind with other cities during past 26 years, due to political unrest and now nobody bothered to take responsibility of lifting garbage from the city till-to-date.
Sindh Governor said that Pakistan and China now transformed its four-decade long relations into trade relations through CPEC. He was of the view that CPEC was a challenge for Pakistan but not for China and hoped that things related to CPEC would be handled in best professional manner to yield maximum fruits.
He said that the country’s growth rate remained stagnant to 3 per cent during 2008 to 2013 and now it was increased to 4 per cent last year and was expected to reach 5 per cent growth during current year. He also apprised that incumbent government successfully completed IMF three-year program, which improved the level of confidence of the international donors to the country; adding that the country was backed on right track during last four years as fiscal deficit reduced to 4 per cent from 8 per cent, inflation came to single digit, Pakistan stock exchange crossed the benchmark of 50000 points and discount rate also managed at historically lowest level.
Adnan Afaq managing director PACRA said that the conference was aimed at making people aware about the economic progress of the country; adding that Pakistan has now started progressing and we have to make all efforts to maintain it. Although there are lots of challenges, we can produce better results through effective management and transparency, he added. Guan Jianzhong chairman DAGONG said that Pakistan’s economic growth would help attracting more countries to be a part of one-belt-one road project, which would be beneficial not for both counties but for the region. Dr. Waqar Masood Khan, former secretary finance said that CPEC was not an economic project but a strategic concept, raising both obvious and imperceptible apprehensions and doubts. He said that the estimated cost of the project was earlier US$46billion, of which, US$11billion was allocated for improving infrastructure - road, railway, airport, etc while rest of US$35 billion was designated for power projects, being financed through Chinese Exim bank and other financial institutions.
Later, the project for rebuilding railway from Karachi to Peshawar was added in CPEC with an investment of US$5billion, he said and adding that there were no special incentives for the projects outside CPEC ambit but these projects including Gwadar-Nawab Shah pipeline, Dhasu Dam, 3600MW LNG power projects were being paid equal importance.
Throwing light on the challenges of CPEC, former secretary finance said that micro economic stability, current account deficit, tax collection, etc were the biggest challenges, which need to be addressed effectively. Moreover, he said that the Karachi Circular Railway was discussed during CPEC meeting three months ago where it was estimated that if the said project was given to Chinese company, the investments under CPEC would be increased by US$6-8 billion. Nadeem Naqvi managing director PSX, Shabar Zaidi, senior partner PWS, Dr. Mushtaq Ali Khan chief economist Bank Alfalah, Nasim Beg director Arif-Habib Group and other eminent also spoke on the occasion.