September 14, 2018 (MLN): Federal Minister for Planning Mr. Makhdum has said that the government has decided that all future energy projects will not be based on imported coal, which will result in the discontinuation of some projects being planned using imported coal including Rahim Yar Khan coal power project, which the PTI led regime has now excluded from the list of CPEC oriented projects.
He said this during his maiden press briefing after chairing the 56th progress review meeting on CPEC projects on Thursday, where he also announced that nonetheless, the Gwadar Coal Project and other ongoing projects like Sahiwal and Port Qasim which are based on imported coal may continue because of their strategic importance and entrance into advanced stages of planning and execution.
The minister also informed that the PTI government has decided to establish a new Joint Working Group (JWG) for social economic development where projects related to education, health, vocational training and capacity building will be firmed up.
In addition, he said the new regime has also decided to conduct a study for exploring new modes of financing in order to undertake future projects on Built-Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis instead of Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) by securing loans.
While addressing the decision by the government to allow third world countries to participate into Gwadar development and special economic zones under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that Pakistan was infrastructure deficient and required $200 billion for meeting financing requirements. Therefore, the minister said that it would be viable to hire a consultant by spending $3 million to $4 million for devising best design and execution plans for projects like ML-1 with an estimated cost of $9 billion.
The minister went on to criticize the former PML-N led government for constructing motorways and roads costing $6 billion and orange line project costing $2.5 billion, and not prioritizing the $9 billion ML-1 project.
Previously, a decision to involve third world countries was taken during a meeting between the Planning, Development and Reforms Commission of Pakistan and the National Development and Reforms Commission (NDRC) of China that took place on Sunday, where the two nations agreed upon formally inviting “third-country” investors to be part of the $60 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and add social sector and regional development schemes to the current portfolio of CPEC projects.
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