Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar addressing a ceremony in Karachi on April 4, 2021. PHOTO: EXPRESS

CPEC projects progressing at fast pace, says Asad Umar

The multibillion-dollar project is now entering the most important second phase, says federal minister

Our Correspondent ​ April 04, 2021

Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar has said projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are progressing at a fast pace during the tenure of the PTI government.

"The way government handled the pandemic situation and made efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, similarly the government would continue working day and night for the success of CPEC," he said while addressing the reception ceremony of the first consignment on Sunday, carrying equipment and machinery for Century Steel at Karachi Port, for setting up of a steel mill in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa's (K-P) Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ).

The federal minister termed the occasion as another manifestation of exceptional relation between Pakistan and China. Umar said CPEC, the multibillion-dollar economic corridor, is now entering the most important second phase, adding that the projects are now not limited to the infrastructure only.

He said that CRBC, a Chinese firm, had entered into an agreement with Pakistan under CPEC to promote foreign investments for development and marketing in Rashakai SEZ.

He said the work for the provision of basic necessities including electricity and others at Rashakai SEZ was underway at a fast pace.

He said the Century Steel, a Chinese firm with the investment of $240 million, would set up a steel mill in Rashakai SEZ which would produce about 1.5 million tonnes of steel.

The firm would also employ over 600 Pakistanis during construction phase while in second phase over 1,000 people would be provided jobs.

Umar further said that the bilateral relations of Pakistan and China are not new. "Whenever Pakistan needed a friend, China was there."

Read more: Asad Umar backs Sindh’s Covid restrictions

The federal minister also lauded the efforts of Chairman CPEC Authority Lt Gen (retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian said that due to the concerted efforts of the government of Pakistan, the economy of the country was strengthening and gaining momentum despite the negative effect of global pandemic, especially the construction sector had been witnessing faster growth and the demand for steel had increased.

"Because of the brilliant efforts from both sides China and Pakistan the first phase of CPEC had completed," he said.

Li Bijian said that "we are quite confident to attract more and more investments" in Rashakai SEZ.

The consul general thanked the federal government particularly the chairman CPEC Authority for his support and efforts.

He that it was an honour for him to witness the reception of the first consignment carrying equipment and machinery for Century Steel and it was only the beginning.

On the occasion, Asim Bajwa, representatives of Century Steel, officers of KPT and others were also present.


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