Govt accused of not sharing details of CPEC projects

Published: May 7, 2016
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Pakistan-China Economic Corridor PHOTO: FILE

Pakistan-China Economic Corridor PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

A parliamentary panel has once again voiced dissatisfaction over the government’s alleged secrecy on the progress made on projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

In its fifth consecutive meeting, the Senate Special Committee on CPEC grilled officials to define the specifications of different sections and the expected time of completion of the agreed western route of the multi-billion-dollar deal with China.

CPEC project: No chance of corruption, says Ahsan Iqbal

The 1,674-kilometre-long western corridor runs between Dera Ismail Khan in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gwadar in Balochistan via Zhob, Quetta, Sorab, Basim, Panjgur, Hoshab and Turbat.

On Friday, Railways Secretary Parveen Agha told the parliamentary committee that a railway track was also planned alongside the western route, for which the feasibility would be completed in the next financial year.

She said the government was not just relying on the CPEC for the railway line but also expected to attract other potential investors.

Senator Nauman Wazir pointed out that Pakistan was being charged an exorbitant 8 per cent interest rate whereas the international rate for energy projects was currently 1.6 per cent. “Where are the government and our bureaucracy taking us?”

The planning and development secretary conveniently brushed off the question, saying the finance and water and power ministries were better equipped to respond to such questions.

Army seeks role in CPEC administration

However, no representative from either ministry was present in the committee meeting which was strongly condemned by the members.

Senator Farhatullah Babar also lamented that Chinese banks were charging a higher interest rate on loans from Pakistan. He questioned if the loans that Chinese banks were extending to Pakistan were even exempt of taxes.

His question was also put off to be directed to the relevant ministry later.

The parliamentarians demanded that the minutes of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting should be shared with the parliament to enable the house to comprehend the true essence of the project and to prevent controversy and misunderstanding.

While underscoring the responsibility of JCC to implement the recommendations proposed in the All Parties Conference, the lawmakers called for the participation of all four provincial chief ministers as well as the representatives from Gilgit-Baltistan in the JCC to bring everyone on the same page.

A National Highway Authority representative informed the committee that the CPEC Western Route would be completed by 2018.

‘CPEC a win-win opportunity’

The DI Khan-Zhob alignment, he added, is to be completed in 40 months, confirming the doubts of the committee members the government was only focusing on the western route without paying much heed to the eastern corridor.

Balochistan’s education minister said despite the fact the CPEC was to start from Gwadar, there has been virtually no headway on the ground over the projects related to the province.

He blamed the federal government for keeping the provincial government in the dark over its plans and asked to be taken onboard in consultative sessions.

The minister said although 70 per cent of the projects were related to his province, there had been no visible development. The committee also pressed the officials for giving priority to the neglected provinces of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.

The panel members asked if the planning and development ministry had any industrial policy in place regarding the Chinese import of crude oil via CPEC projects, to which the ministry’s secretary replied he would take up the matter with the high-ups.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2016.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • May 7, 2016 - 10:16AM

    The volume and amount of noise and propaganda being made ‘for’ and ‘against’ CPEC is alarming. Frankly, there is suspicion on the PMLN government for not telling the truth.
    It will not be surprising if China gets fed up. SalamsRecommend

  • Raj - USA
    May 7, 2016 - 10:57AM

    It is over two years now but still everything about CPEC is vague. Everyone calls it “Game Changer” but no one knows (1) What projects are covered (2) What is China’s investment (3) What are the loans from China (4) What is the effective interest rate that would be paid to China on its loans (4) What is the duration of the loan for which interest would be paid (5) How China is going to get the minimum guaranteed return of 18.5% per annum (6) For how many years China will be getting the minimum guaranteed return of 18.5%.

    Sometimes the Metro lines become part of CPEC and then it is also said that they are not part of CPEC.

    These are Parliamentarians asking these questions. If Parliamentarians themselves do not know the details what would the common Pakistani know?

    The power plants that are said to be part of CPEC are coal based. That coal is mostly Lignite and Peat the lowest grades which are undesirable and have low thermal efficiency. These are the coal based plants that China is scrapping in China. China would be selling these to Pakistan at inflated prices. Not sure though but China may be benefitting in the form of carbon credits for reducing carbon emissions in China by scrapping off these coal based power plants.

    Now that some parliamentarians have raised questions, I am sure what the response would be. It would be that, over this week end we would see one or two articles in ET and other news papers, written by paid columnists (columnists paid by Pakistan’s military establishment and political elite who send to benefit from Chinese Kickbacks), using followers words, praising CPEC and repeating that it is a “Game Changer” without giving any details. They would be praising Pakistan-China relationship also. It is so predictable !!!!!!Recommend

  • mohan
    May 7, 2016 - 3:27PM

    Lol who on the earth give 8 percent interest for 46 billions? Where there is only 2-3 percent interest rates around the world. Why they aren’t showing documents open? Even in court also they didn’t show documents, are they selling Pak cheaply to china?. Btw why Pak is to return money to china? They didn’t give single penny to u, they don’t have projects to build, they extending the projects by printing money on other countries. The material belongs to them, the benifit Is to Chinese, the workers are Chinese, contractors are Chinese, material is from china, china is directly paying money from their govt. How on the earth that considered to be a loan? Pak has no benefit so far with so called cpec, only speculative Pak builders made the boom. I doubt china allow any one on the road with security reasons. Cant Pak build the road by printing money? How on the earth Pak gonna repay the money? China never agreed to pay the for using of port, Isn’t it? Just only few speculators raise the hopes, no word from so called belowed commander, no word from so called belowed panama boss. How on the earth we trust cpec?.Recommend

  • curious2
    May 7, 2016 - 6:12PM

    Senator Nauman Wazir pointed out that Pakistan was being charged an exorbitant 8 per cent interest rate whereas the international rate for energy projects was currently 1.6 per cent
    .
    First time that has been disclosed – what happened to all those articles/comments talking about favorable interest rates?Recommend

  • Brainy Bhaijan
    May 7, 2016 - 7:45PM

    I have repeated this a number of times on this website, that China does not have the money to throw away on CPEC.
    They are facing extreme liquidity issues at the moment, where the corporate debt in China is twice the size of their entire GDP.
    They are in trouble and the rest of the world is waiting for a hard landing.Recommend

  • syed & syed
    May 8, 2016 - 2:12AM

    The Government is not coming out clean on CPEC route which will be completed by 2018 the time of elections. Whom the government is fooling. Mr. Ahsan Iqbal has also gone hibernation. instead of saying the truth. As far higher rate of interest is concerned Mr. Dar and PM are responsible because they have big pockets.They are sweeping like vaulters on CPEC funds one brother fled away for orange and metros and others are sharing for railways and stomic power generation. Aman-e- Allah, they also showed the door of corruption to honest hard working ChineseRecommend

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