Tuesday, November 28, 2017

‘Uninformed views’ about Gwadar port pact refuted


The Newspaper's Staff CorrespondentNovember 28, 2017

QUETTA: Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) chairman Dostain Khan Jamaldini has refuted generalisations and uninformed views expressed in the media about the port concession agreement.

In a statement issued here on Monday, he said such remarks may only damage the pace of work initiated by the China Oversees Ports Holding (COPHC) and GPA inside the port area as well as the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in the country.

He said the Gwadar Port concession agreement was signed 10 years ago in 2007 with the Port of Singapore Authority International (PSAI), the former port operating company.

He clarified that the port and its free zone could not be developed by the PSAI as per the agreement on Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) basis till 2013.


GPA chairman says such remarks may damage pace of work inside port area and on CPEC projects

The COPHC, the present port operator, took over the operations of the port after commercial negotiation with the authorities concerned in 2013 without any amendment in the agreement.

Therefore, he said, the terms and conditions were defined long before the CPEC existed.

“Under the agreement, the port operator has to construct new port terminals with equipment, machinery, marine vessels and allied facilities on a vast area of the port.”

Furthermore, he said, the company is developing Gwadar Free Zone at an area of about 2,300 acres. The entire project is to be completed on BOT basis with the company funding. The company will be spending around $5 billion during the concession period up to 2048.

“After completion of the concession period the entire fixed asset constructed and developed will be transferred to the GPA with billions of dollars businesses operating in Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone,” Mr Jamaldini said, adding that during the concession period the GPA is getting 9 per cent of the gross revenue from port and marine service businesses and 15pc of the free zone businesses.

The GPA chairman said that despite shortage of water, electricity and road connection to the port, the COPHC, together with the GPA, is operating the port with losses.

“Despite these difficulties, the COPHC has been active to use its resources for the local community by giving employment opportunities, handling health problems, education and environmental protection programmes in Gwadar.”

He said with the strong guidance and leadership of the government and support of local communities, the Gwadar Port is enjoying unprecedented quick development. “It is the vision of COPHC and GPA that all the authorities concerned and stakeholders may join us to ascertain the making of Gwadar Port an economic hub of Pakistan and South Asia region,” he said.

“The Gwadar Port is the flagship project of the CPEC torchbearer of urban and industrial development of Gwadar district,” he said, adding that economic development of Gwadar as well as the southern regions of Balochistan largely depended on smooth progress of work in Gwadar Port area.

The benefits to the district and the province would be much more than the expected revenues from the port, he said.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2017

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