Investment under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor in various projects, particularly infrastructure and the power sector, has surged to $55 billion, Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair said today (Wednesday). Addressing a seminar, "CPEC: Opportunities and Challenges," held by Express Media Group and Fast Marketing on Wednesday, at a hotel, The governor said that so far CPEC is the best economic project in the country's history as it is not limited to Pakistan's economy but is also the global economy.
He said that China has shown interest in investments in several sectors under CPEC. Therefore, investment is gradually increasing, reaching the $55 billion mark mainly in power, infrastructure and projects related to information technology. "After the CPEC agreement and ongoing development, some more foreign companies are planning to invest in Pakistan in different sectors." he added.
The federal government is also making all efforts to get maximum benefits from CPEC and a 35-member committee has been set up under the chairmanship of Mushahid Hussain to monitor progress on CPEC projects, he said. He said that most power projects of CPEC have been initiated in Sindh, but job opportunities will be created equally in all provinces. For many years, Balochistan was being ignored, he said, but after the CPEC agreement it has become the hub of major economic activities. A deep-sea port has already developed, while free economic and industrial zones are being established to create job opportunities,, he added.
Although Pakistan and China were close friends for many years, the volume of their mutual trade was on a very low level. CPEC will increase the bilateral trade as well, he said.
Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah said that the foundation of Pakistan-China relationship was laid four decades ago by former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who diverted foreign policy in favour of China. He said CPEC is not limited to Pakistan, but will connect 64 countries of the world. In order to get benefits from CPEC for Sindh, Pakistan signed three agreements for development of the Karachi Circular Railway, a power plant at Keti Bandar and an industrial zone in Dhabijee. A wind-power project has already started working, he added.
Murad said that the government of Sindh is also working on several power projects and a huge coal-based power project has been initiated with support from the private sector. The project has started in Thar, which is one of the world's seven largest coal reserves sites. The Sindh government's share in this project is 54 percent and 660 MW of electricity will be produced through this coal- based power plant likely to be complete in 2019, he added.
He said that the government is spending $350 million for supply of water to the coal-based power plants. Initially the Keti Bandar power plant will be operational on imported coal, but later coal will be brought from Thar, he added. He said that Sindh is the single province which has established a transmission company on provincial level and a 94-kilometre transmission line between Karachi and Nooriabad has been laid for supply of 100MW electricity. This project is likely to be inaugurated next month, he said.
The Sindh chief minister said that Sindh has an important role in the CPEC project, and it has restored the confidence of foreign investors, who are keen to invest in Karachi.
Addressing the seminar, Chinese Consul General Wang Yu said that the Chinese leadership spent four years in the planning and implementation of the CPEC project.
He said that most CPEC projects, including mega power plants, will be completed in 2017-2018 and hopefully these projects will help to overcome the energy crisis. Chinese Consul General said that so far about a hundred countries have shown interest in becoming part of the project and 40 countries have already signed agreements with China.