The fifth meeting between China and Pakistan JWG (Joint Working Group) on Gwadar, has agreed the deliverable projects which would be put forward for the upcoming JCC (Joint Coordination Committee) of CPEC, and have also reached a mutual agreement to speed up the work on completion of Gwadar’s new international airport.
Ying Xiong, Director General of NRDC (National Development and Reform Commission) and Mathar Niaz Rana Secretary of Planning co-chaired the Joint working group meeting, which was held in Islamabad through a video link.
According to officials, Director General Ying Xiong said that Gwadar’s development is a top priority and would be propelled with dedication and Vigor. On the other hand, Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana accredited the ceaseless support the Chinese government has provided for the development of Gwadar and reassured the Chinese of the unyielding commitment of Pakistan to expedite the development work in Gwadar city.
In the meeting, the progress of Gwadar related projects was reviewed and the China Pakistan JWG expressed their satisfaction with the progress made in the Gwadar city project. The Chinese contingent of the JWG commended the support extended by Pakistan in making the Gwadar port operational, especially for permitting the Afghan transit trade through the port. It was decided that this initiative would help speed up transshipment trade and substantially reduce the cost of logistic.
Zhang Baozhong, Chairman of the China Overseas Ports Holding Company Limited (COPHCL) gave a detailed explanation of the development in Gwadar port and emphasised on the new-found interest of entrepreneurs in investing in Gwadar port and free zone area. It was made known that the completion of the Eastbay Expressway will be realised in 2021 and all the unresolved issues have been solved on priority.
The Eastbay Expressway will link Gwadar port with the second phase of the Free Trade Zone which will help promote the economic climate of the zone and Gwadar port as well. Also, there was a discussion on other projects like the M-8 Motorway and New Gwadar International Airport (NGIA) intended for the smooth connectivity of Gwadar with the rest of the country and beyond. The New Gwadar International Airport’s progress took a positive note.
According to the planning ministry, the power purchase agreement on the 300-megawatt coal-fired power plant will be signed in December 2020. The energy project will energise the Gwadar’s Industry and improve the economic and social wellbeing of the local community.
During the JWG meeting, projects in the social sector such as the Vocational & Technical Institute and the Pak-China Friendship Hospital in Gwadar was also addressed. The Secretary of planning Mathar Niaz Rana emphasised that the hospital project is of uttermost importance for the people of Gwadar and needs to be sped up for completion.
The ministry of planning had also stated that China will provide support for socio-economic projects in Gwadar, including agriculture, livestock and fisheries.
The Joint Cooperation Committee is the highest decision-making body of CPEC, however, its meeting has been delayed for the last 2 months. All the discussions in the JWG meeting were aimed towards the expedition of projects to be placed in the JCC meeting which may hold this December.