SPEZs under CPEC: Provinces pushed to complete feasibility reports

All the provincial governments have been directed by Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal to complete the feasibility reports on establishment of Special Economic Zones under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The minister gave these instructions while chairing a meeting at the Planning Commission. The meeting was held to review progress on projects being implemented under the CPEC.

“To ensure maximum benefits of industrial cooperation, a joint national industrial framework must be developed with the support of local industrialists, experts and researchers,” he said.

Minister for planning also directed all the provincial governments to review the CPEC’s long-term projects by 9th of this month. He said that final drafts prepared after recommendations of the provincial governments will be shared with the Chinese side by 31st of this month.

He further emphasized that federal and provincial governments should jointly work to ensure security of workers on CPEC projects. He also gave instructions for a joint mechanism of law enforcing agencies (LEAs) to ensure smooth operation.

The minister said that the public welfare schemes in Gwadar would guarantee a bright future of the CPEC. He instructed that projects in different sectors including education, health, water supply, professional education and technical skills should be completed according to international standards.

The minister PD&R also issued directions for the early rehabilitation of existing desalination plant in Gwadar to avoid drinking water problems in coming summer.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan and China are ensuring a number of initiatives to modernise and enhance capacity of Gwadar Port. “The port will make Pakistan a hub of global trade,” he remarked.

He said that Gwadar city is being developed according to international standards, thus working group on Gwadar must ensure high quality in formation of the city master plan.

“Completion of Gwadar International Airport will play a vital role in development of this port city, so all the institutions should prepare a collaborative and integrated strategy for the timely completion of this project,” he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the timely completion of ongoing projects in energy sector is the top priority of the government, adding it will not tolerate negligence of any kind. He further directed that besides power generation projects, transmission and distribution schemes be implemented so that the system can meet the future needs.

He said that energy projects under the CPEC should be made environment-friendly by use of modern technology and according to the international laws.

During the meeting, the officials of the National Highways Authority briefed the participants about the progress on western route and Multan-Sukkur Motorway projects.

Ahsan Iqbal instructed that the infrastructure group should ensure timely implementation of newly approved road projects. “Steering mechanism shall be formed immediately by National Highways Authority (NHA) along with provincial representatives for new road projects agreed upon during the 6th JCC,” he remarked.

The minister directed the authorities to initiate construction work on road projects in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, particularly the rehabilitation and dualisation of Indus Highway from Kohat to Lakki Marwat. He further said that the local administration and elected representatives should be taken onboard to decide about the compensation for land acquisition in connection with the roads projects.