Delay in CPEC projects can hurt investment: WB

ISLAMABAD: As the Planning Commission reviewed progress on various projects of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor on Monday, a World Bank report fears that a delay in the completion of CPEC projects can affect investment and hurt economic growth during the projected period.

The World Bank report, ‘South Asia Economic Focus’ says Pakistan relies on consumption but counts on rebalancing towards investment for growth – supported by improved electricity supply and infrastructure investment under the CPEC agreement.

The gradual growth trend is underpinned by increased public investment supported by CPEC, however the first year’s performance reflects inability of the government to mobilise revenues and rationalise expenditures.

The CPEC projects are aimed at accelerating growth in the domestic construction industry and increase in electricity generation. Improved electricity availability will support growth in the industry and services sector.

At the review meeting, officials of various ministries briefed about the status of work on various projects under CPEC framework.

Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who chaired the meeting, directed to accelerate the construction work on CPEC projects to ensure their completion in time.

He said CPEC projects will silence all critics after completion with their benefits for people of Pakistan.

Mr Iqbal said that construction work on various sections of Western route and Indus Highway should be completed as per the timelines to operationalise these at the earliest.

The planning minister said the federal government wants to complete the work on Western route on priority basis in accordance with its commitment made with national political leadership.

The meeting reviewed the progress on projects in energy, road infrastructure, railway and Gwadar under CPEC framework.

While reviewing the energy projects, the Ministry Of Water And Power apprised the meeting that work on all projects is on track and these would be completed as per the schedule. The planning minister observed that fast track work on these projects is necessary to tackle the energy crisis and power needs of industrial zones in future under CPEC.

He asked the ministry to align commissioning targets of power projects with National Transmission and Despatch Company Limited (NTDC) to ensure timely completion of transmission lines for evacuation of power.

The interior ministry informed the meeting that the terms of reference (TORs) of Special Security Force will be finalised within a week.

The planning minister while addressing a roundtable conference on prioritising growth of small and medium enterprises to achieve SDGs, said CPEC can provide great opportunity for SMEs to develop and grow as their role is critical in the processes of inclusive growth.

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