Special Assistant to Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor said on Monday that Chinese industrialists want to undertake several multi-billion-dollar projects in Pakistan, an intention they expressed during their meeting with Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Talking to media following the premier's visit to Beijing at the invitation of the Chinese leadership, Mansoor said China has also given assurance of high quality and expeditious development of the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“Some 20 meetings were held with different delegations during the premier's trip to China,” said Mansoor.
"It is (also) a misconception that the development of CPEC projects is lagging," added Mansoor.
He said that the meeting pertaining to the power sector was held with the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) chairperson, and its entire leadership. He said that the NDRC is linked with the rest of the Chinese financial institutions.
He said that the goal of these talks was to address investor concerns involved in different sectors.
“Chinese investors were told that the Economic Coordination Committee had approved Rs100 billion for Independent Power Producers (IPPs), out of which Rs50 billion has already been disbursed while the remaining amount will be provided to them this month,” said Mansoor.
“The second issue raised by the Chinese investors during the meeting was the delay in the establishment of a revolving account. The Prime Minister gave the approval for it, prior to the trip to China, which was communicated to the Chinese delegation,” he said.
“Furthermore, the Chinese were concerned regarding the number of approvals needed to conduct an investment, which causes delay.
“In this regard, the Pakistan government, weeks before the trip, introduced a landmark legislation in which the approval regime has become a compliance regime, and now the investor would provide an undertaking that they would comply with certain things as per the law of the land, whereas, its enforcement will be undertaken through an audit regime,” he said.
He said that the facilitation centre at CPEC Authority is up and running, which acts as a single-window operation to resolve issues of Chinese investors.
He said that the remaining 19 meetings were held with leading Chinese industrialists belonging to several sectors including agriculture, energy, infrastructure, refining etc.
“A large consortium comprising of Huazong Technology Co, and China Communications Construction Company (CCCC) proposed to construct a low-carbon paper and steel recycling park in Gwadar, where they will reprocess high process metals and export it,” he said.
Mansoor said that the estimated investment for the proposed project is around $4.5 billion, which will process 13.4 million tons of high-value metals and will create 40,000 job opportunities. “The consortium has told us that if they are provided proper facilitation, the project is expected to be completed in 2-3 years."
Another meeting pertaining to the agriculture and textile sector was held, informed Mansoor.
“A company called China Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC) proposed to set up an Agriculture Science and Technology Transferring Centre on a Govt to Govt basis, at the cost of $50 million,” he said.
CMEC also proposed to set up a $500 million LNG storage facility in Pakistan at Karachi port. The project will be undertaken as a joint venture (JV) following a partnership with a local company, informed Mansoor.
Another Chinese company is establishing a pesticide production factory in M3, in a joint venture with Fauji Fertilizer Company.
“Royal Group wants to establish four large scale buffalo farms in Pakistan at an investment of $50 million, to produce milk and value-added products, which will be marketed to Pakistan, but more importantly to China,” he said.
Pertaining to the textile sector, a Chinese company called Textile Fashion has purchased 100 acres of land at Lahore–Kasur Road, in which the company would set up an entire textile cluster at an investment of $250 million.
On infrastructure, the China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) has signed an MoU with Karachi Port Trust (KPT) that intends to establish a Karachi Coastal Comprehensive Development Zone with $3.5 billion investment. “CRBC have briefed the PM that they remain very committed to the project.”
In the Information Technology sector, Neusoft Medical Systems, which manufactures diagnostic equipment, wants to set up a manufacturing and assembling hub in the country at an investment of $200 million.
Meanwhile, Hunan Sunwalk Group in a joint venture with Pakistan’s telecom provider Jazz proposed to lay fibre optic cable, which will connect major cities of Pakistan. Mansoor said that the estimated cost of the project is around $2 billion.
Another Chinese company intends to manufacture and assemble mobile parts in the Science and Technology zone, he said.
The SAPM was confident that the country will now head towards industrialisation which will benefit the economy and provide job opportunities to the youth.