Presently, economic advisors have revealed that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects will grow economic activities in the whole region. In order to ensure timely completion of CPEC projects, the Government of Pakistan should work together with all stakeholders and should also remove all concerns of the all provinces in the country. It is also said that federal as well as provincial governments are working on CPEC projects together like one team mindset and approach.
The timely completion of CPEC projects would be a success for the citizens of Pakistan. New technologies were being introduced in infrastructure, transportation and engineering sectors because of CPEC projects. The Economic Corridor is helping Pakistan as it has great opportunity to learn the state-of-the-art knowledge and technologies in different sectors.
ENERGY SECTOR PROJECTS
Pakistan’s current energy generating capacity is 24,830MW, though Pakistan presently faces power shortfalls of over 4,500MW on a regular basis with routine energy cuts of up to 5 hours per day, which has shed an estimated 2–2.5 percent off its yearly GDP. Energy generation will be a major focus of the CPEC project, with almost $33 billion predicted to be spent in this sector. As part of the ‘Early Harvest’ scheme of the CPEC, an estimated 10,400MW of electricity are slated for generation by March 2018. The power projects under CPEC will be built by private Independent Power Producers (IPPs), rather than by the governments of either Pakistan or China. Presently both nations have agreed to revise and update the list of CPEC Energy Cooperation Project, removing 5 pending projects with the combined capacity of 3470MW. The projects which were dropped includes Muzaffargarh Coal Power Project (1,320MW), Salt Range Mine Mouth Power Project (300MW) including mining, Gaddani Power Park (1,320MW), Sunnec Wind Farm (50MW), Chichoki Mallian Combined-cycle Power Plant (525MW).
REAL GDP GROWTH RATES (%)
Gwadar port would initially be enlarged and upgraded to allow for docking of larger ships with deadweight tonnage of up to 70,000 under the CPEC agreement. Improvement plans also include construction of a $130 million breakwater around the port also the construction of a floating Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) facility that would have a capacity of 500 million cubic feet of LNG per day and will be connected to the Gwadar-Nawabshah segment of the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline.
ORANGE LINE METRO TRAIN
China and Pakistan had signed a framework agreement in April 2015 to build the Orange Line of the rapid mass transit system in Punjab’s provincial capital, Lahore. The system, the first large rail transit project within the framework of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), was contracted by a consortium, composed of China Railway Corporation and China North Industries Corporation. The first of 27 trains designed for Orange Line Metro had already rolled off the production line in central China’s Hunan province last week. The train with five coaches designed for the 25.58 km Orange Line Metro, is being produced by CRRC Zhuzhou Locomotive Co Ltd.
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
As part of CPEC, the two nations also inked an Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement with pledged to ‘China-Pakistan Joint Cotton Bio-Tech Laboratory’. The two nations also pledged to organize the ‘China-Pakistan Joint Marine Research Center’ with State Oceanic Administration and Pakistan’s Ministry of Science and Technology also as a part of the CPEC deal. Pakistan and China have also accepted to co-operate in the field of space research. During February 2016, the they accepted to organize the ‘Pak-China Science, Technology, Commerce and Logistic Park’ near Islamabad at a predicted cost of $1.5 billion. During May 2016, construction started on the $44 million 820 km long Pakistan-China Fiber Optic Project, an optical fiber cable that would improve telecommunication in the Gilgit-Baltistan area, while offering Pakistan a fifth route by which to transmit telecommunication traffic.
Under the CPEC project, China has proclaimed financing for $10.63 billion worth of transportation infrastructure so far; $6.1 billion have been allocated for constructing ‘Early Harvest’ roadway projects at an interest rate of 1.6 percent. The remainder of funds would be allocated when the government of Pakistan awards contracts for construction of road segments which are still in the planning phase. Three corridors have been identified for cargo transport: the Eastern Alignment through the heavily populated provinces of Sindh and Punjab where most industries are placed, the Western Alignment through the less developed and more sparsely populated provinces of KPK and Balochistan, and the future Central Alignment which will pass through KPK, Punjab, and Balochistan.
Above discussions reveal that economic benefits of CPEC are net positive for Pakistan. No doubt, many discussions have revealed that CPEC is a golden opportunity for Pakistan but economic advisors should also mention the disadvantages of the CPEC projects.