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CM Sindh to brief Zardari on outcome of China visit today

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah will meet former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari at Bilawal House on Wednesday (today) to inform him about his ‘achievements’ during a recent visit to China in connection with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“Being a key architect of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, Mr Zardari is eager to hear the details of the CM’s visit,” said an official in the provincial government. “Sindh has become a prime destination for Chinese and international investment.”

Officials said Mr Shah would give a presentation to the former president along with his three ministers and a couple of senior bureaucrats who accompanied him to China.

Mr Zardari would be informed about the participation of the provincial officials in the sixth joint cooperation committee (JCC) meeting in Beijing to get included the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), Keti Bandar Port and Power Park, and a special economic zone (SEZ) at Dhabeji, Thatta, into the list of projects supported by the Chinese government in CPEC.

The officials said the Sindh government had made many attempts over the last decade, to secure financial support for the KCR to meet the living and work needs of the world’s seventh largest city.

On Dec 29, the Chinese side approved support for the revival of the railway system with an estimated cost of $2 billion.

“What this means for Chinese state-owned enterprises (SOEs) is that it makes the project commercially viable on account of easier funding and gives them a guarantee from Islamabad backing Chinese investment in this project,” said an official referring to the presentation.

“It now falls on the Sindh government to seek and tender for the development of the KCR via a financially viable scheme and partner with the right Chinese company. Sindh’s team in Beijing has signed a MoU (memorandum of understanding) with a specialist SOE for rail projects and a number of other Chinese companies are lining up.”

CM Shah also succeeded in his bid for the inclusion of a coal jetty and port and a 10,000 MW power park at Keti Bandar along with a transmission line to connect Keti Bandar to Jamshoro and Matiari grid as well as a railway link from Islamkot to Keti Bandar.

“As Murad Ali Shah later witnessed the signing of a MoU with a Chinese company which has interest in participating in this $5bn project, his emotions were palpable. This initiates the industrialisation and development of Sindh’s coastal belt and will ensure modern life to millions living there,” said a government spokesman. “The fourth pillar of the Chinese regional integration strategy has now been included into CPEC, ie Special Economic Zones. The Sindh government proposed to the Chinese to develop and relocate their industry in collaboration with Pakistani businesses at Dhabeji on 1,000 acres in a purpose-built industrial park.”

The officials said the Chinese side had in principal approved the list of SEZ submitted by Islamabad and the provinces had three months to submit commercial viabilities, forge possible partnerships between Chinese and Pakistani businesses, budget infrastructure development and ensure availability of gas, electricity and water.

“The federal government has committed to devise an industrial policy to [create] an encouraging investment environment to attract Chinese businesses to relocate, transfer technology, create jobs and increase domestic income in Pakistan.”

The presentation said Mr Shah’s government was committed to make a state-of-the-art industrial enclave at Dhabeji in Thatta. It would be a viable proposition given that Karachi was merely 41 kilometres away and the zone was located on the CPEC’s eastern route with N5 half a kilometre away and M9 at a distance of 35km.

Mr Shah would tell the meeting that the Sindh government had invested in and prioritised Thar coal mining. Power generation from local coal and Thar coalfields was included in the CPEC at the very outset signalling the importance of national energy security.

“The Thar project, owned by a UK company, can now attract large equity financing from world-class Chinese mining and power companies. The financial close of this project will be the largest private sector transaction in Pakistan at $2bn.”

Courtesy : Dawn News

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