–P&D official says projects involve long-term govt-to-govt concessional, preferential loans
–Informs that repayments on loans will not commence in immediate future
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday reiterated its commitment to implement all projects linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), stating that all state institutions supported the multi-billion dollar project which was a key to the future of country’s socio-economic development.
In the backdrop of negative media reports emerging in the international media, an official of Ministry of Planning & Development said that Pakistan had repeatedly stated that it was fully committed to CPEC that enjoyed complete consensus among all institutions and political forces in the country.
“It is not surprising that detractors of Pakistan-China cooperation are presenting a negative image of CPEC and the benefits that it brings to the people of Pakistan. Their negativity cannot weaken our resolve and commitment to CPEC,” said the official.
The official also said that Pakistan offered attractive investment opportunities and welcomed all countries to take advantage of this favourable environment and to invest in developmental projects in the country instead of leveling unfounded criticism against a country that had stood by Pakistan at all times.
“We have noted recent media reports questioning the viability of CPEC, claiming that it would create an unbearable debt burden for Pakistan. Such media reports are often one-sided, distorted facts and are based on irresponsible statements by individuals who either have no understanding of CPEC or are driven by ulterior motives,” said the official.
While constructive critiques and recommendations by experts and analysts were always welcomed, the official added, it was important that such critiques be informed by research based on factual information rather than mere partial opinions.
“It must be clarified that CPEC projects are financed through a composite financing package comprising long-term government-to-government concessional and preferential loans, as well as grants from the government of China. Repayments on these loans would not commence in the immediate future,” the official added.
The official was of the view that energy sector was a key priority area under CPEC’s early-harvest phase and responded to Pakistan’s immediate energy needs. “Chinese companies are investing in the energy sector in IPP mode and have raised funds from Chinese banks and investors. These do not constitute any debt obligation on the government of Pakistan.”
“It is because of the favourable financing arrangements that Pakistan opted for Chinese investment under CPEC. China stepped forward to support Pakistan’s development at a time when foreign investment had dried up, and economic activity was being crippled by energy shortages and infrastructure gaps”.
The official also said the CPEC had provided enormous opportunities for Pakistan to grow economically.
“It is an engine for economic growth and will increase Pakistan’s GDP up by two to three per cent. CPEC has also facilitated in overcoming crucial energy, transport infrastructure and supply chain bottlenecks,” the official added.
Under CPEC, the official said, development of Gwadar would ensure the strengthening of maritime sector particularly the coastal tourism and local fishery industry thereby benefitting the local communities.