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  • May 23rd, 2018
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The Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform will take up the issue of installation of Web-Based One Customs (WeBOC) clearance system at Gwadar Port Terminal Development with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) for speedy clearance of consignments from Gwadar.

Sources told Business Recorder here on Tuesday that the decision was taken in the last meeting to review the progress on the CPEC projects under the chairmanship of minister for planning, development and reform.

In his opening remarks, the minister PD&R stressed upon the positive outcomes that could be brought by special economic zones (SEZs), instructing for more focused coordination for successful implementation of this important sector. Moreover, he stressed upon early solutions regarding water and power shortage issues in Gwadar.

During the meeting, Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) reported progress on Gwadar Port Terminal Development, intimating that problems are being faced due to non-installation of Customs' WeBOC system. The authorities instructed that issues should be resolved in consultation with the FBR at the earliest.

It has been decided that the Board of Investment (BOI) informed that 2-3 road shows showcasing Pakistan's special economic zones (SEZs) and products including textiles, manufacturing, infrastructure, petrochemical, iron and steel industries, mines and minerals, agro-based industries and automobile vendors to be organized in collaboration with Pakistan's Missions in major cities of China.

The minister for planning instructed that CPEC Secretariat to assist BOI in establishing business links with Chinese businesses and international chambers that have showed interest in collaboration with Pakistan.

The BOI briefed the participants and intimated that except KP, other provinces had shown a mixed response to the incentive package for SEZs, approved by the cabinet.

The minister directed that value preposition to be adopted for provision of plots on installments, ie, price range to he offered to those plots with more value due to their attractive locations instead of treating all plots with same value.

Currently land often comprises 40% of total project cost which is high. This needs to be rationalized. "Plot bidding" in attractive SEZs location be promoted, the meeting decided.

It has been decided that the BOI would take FBR and Ministry of Finance onboard regarding SEZs' incentives. A clear evaluation of financial impact in this regard will be made.

It was also decided that Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) would identify land for establishment of Federal SEZ in Gwadar and it should be properly earmarked in Gwadar City Master Plan. The BOI and GDA will expedite the matter and find a suitable place to ensure implementation of cabinet decision in this regard.

The BOI has informed that issue of land of Federal SEZ at Port Qasim has been resolved. The chair instructed for making arrangements to ensure ground breaking before Ramazan. The BOI ensured to keep coordination with CDA to locate a suitable place for Islamabad-based Federal SEZ at the earliest.

The BOI briefed about the first meeting of Pakistan's side sub-group on agriculture. The minister PD&R instructed that the group should consider drip irrigation technology to be imported in Pakistan with the assistance of China. Seed development will be treated as a separate sub-field. Chinese Expert Group on Agriculture will be invited to visit Pakistan in the second week of August 2018 instead of first week of July 2018.

Ministry of Communication (MoC) briefed on progress on different CPEC road projects and intimated that all the projects would be completed according to its stipulated time. The western route section from DI Khan to Mianwali is near completion and could be inaugurated soon.

The MoC briefed about new projects included in 6th JCC, intimating that Khuzdar-Basima road has been removed from the list of CPEC projects and is instead to he implemented under the PSDP. The rest of the projects such as KKH Thakot-Raikot Section and Zhob-DI Khan Section's framework agreements are still pending with Chinese side.

The MoC intimated that section 04 imposition for land acquisition on DI Khan-Zhob to Kuchlak sections are creating unrest amongst the locals as the process has been delayed due to non-signing of framework agreement.

The minister for planning clarified that Khuzadar-Basirna project is not removed and is still part of the CPEC. Due to urgency and importance, the project will be initiated with PSDP till approval of Chinese funding. The NDRC would be approached in order to expedite signing of pending framework agreements of the road projects.

It was decided that MoC informed that contracts of Jhand-Kohat and Indus Highway dualisation projects have been awarded. Mobilizations of the contractors are expected soon. The chair instructed to fast-track the projects and ensure early groundbreaking.

It has also been decided that minister PD&R instructed that PC-I of the entire road projects having adequate allocation under PSDP to be finalized within 3 months. In this regard, the consultant would be hired and projects of important nature to be prioritized.

During the meeting, Ministry of Railway informed that approval of PC-I of ML-I project is under process and terms of financing to be firmed up with Chinese side. The chair instructed the Ministry of Railway to provide complete data set.

The GPA briefed about progress on Eastbay Expressway, intimating that mobilization has been completed. The chair instructed that work on this road project be expedited and more local labor and engineers be employed.

Follow up with Chinese side regarding Pak-China Technical & Vocational Institute progress be ensured, sources said.

Development of Pasni Fishing Harbor be ensured for the rehabilitation of local community amid fishermen and Balochistan government to be approached in this regard.

In the said meeting, GPA informed that 0.2 MGD water supply could be made from free zone desalination plant to Gwadar city. An agreement in this regard is pending with the government of Balochistan. The minister PD&R instructed for immediate solution of water supply issue. The GDA and government of Balochistan will ensure signing of the agreement before Ramazan to facilitate the local community till installation of FWO's desalination plant.

The GDA would ensure planning and implementation of Gwadar Solid Waste Management amid livelihood projects that should protect local fishing and boat making industry, ensure cluster mapping and identify value chain.

About the new Gwadar airport, it was decided that the Aviation Division reported different problems regarding New Gwadar Airport Project (NGIA) eg non-issuance of NOC of environmental impact assessment, non-allocation of land for desalination plant and delay in provision of detailed drawing and layout of 132KV grid stations at NG1A Site.

The minister for planning expressed concerns on matter and asked the Prime Ministers' Office to take notice of the delay and take action against non-performing officers of QESCO. He also asked for strict administrative action against federal officers concerned with NGIA issues pending in Balochistan.

On the issue of energy, sources said that the representative of Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted issues of setting up a revolving fund for energy projects and late payments to Chinese companies. Despite Prime Minister's directives, and his assurance given at BOAO Forum; revolving fund has yet, not been opened and further delays in payments may forces the projects, particularly Sahiwal coal plant to stop functioning.

The chair expressed serious reservations and requested the Prime Minister's Office to take note as things are not happening despite Prime Minister's issued instructions to Finance Division and Power Division. He also asked for strict administrative action against federal officers concerned with environmental impact assessment's NOC for Gwadar coal power plant.

It was informed that the CEO HUBCO Thar also highlighted that late payment are also making problems for their project as Sinosure and NDRC have delayed their procedures. Representative from UEP also raised issue of power evacuation that is hindering their power production at full capacity. The chair asked Ministry of Energy to ensure resolution of all the issues.

The representative of Gilgit-Baltistan pointed out that B2B model for energy projects in GB be altered with G2G model. The chair highlighted that the projects are in negotiation stage and to be reviewed by the experts from both sides.

During the meeting, it was decided that the Ministry of Energy (Petroleum) briefed about Pak China Oil & Gas Sub-Group which constituted an expert panel. The group will work to study and finalize plan for establishment of deep conversion mega oil refineries and gas pipelines and other projects in this sector.

Regarding one percent security charges, the PPIB informed that government of KP has intimated that they are deploying 150 policemen, out of which they have deployed 30 percent and that the company has to pay expenses of about Rs 60 million per year. The company has been slating that since they are already paying one percent, hence they should not be asked to pay tile abovementioned amount.

It was clarified by SSD representative that one percent is not to be dispersed as Ministry of Finance has intimated that this money goes into the normal channel of distribution to provinces and security agencies.

The minister for planning clarified that the security arrangements have to be done by the provincial governments. In the concluding remarks, the minister emphasized on the need for improving coordination between government ministries and institutions along with Chinese side to fast track the progress of CPEC projects.

Deputy Ambassador of China expressed his gratitude for attending the 53rd CPEC Projects Progress Review meeting and thanked ministries, departments, and representatives of Chinese organizations. He also thanked and appreciated Pakistan's efforts and contributions towards CPEC projects.

The chairman Board of Investment also stressed, "We all need to address the issues to capitalize on CPEC projects and turn Pakistan into a financial hub.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2018

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