Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Khusro Bakhtiar on Monday said that around $8 billion investment was expected in the proposed Gwadar oil city project and the petro-chemical chain to be developed under CPEC.
Briefing Senate Special Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the minister said that huge investment was coming to Pakistan’s oil sector.
He said the government was exploring different venue for investment in the ML-1 project and inviting the third party including Japan or Germany to invest in Karachi to Peshawar railway project.
The Senate Special Committee on CPEC that met with Senator Sherry Rehman in the chair was informed that besides Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Korea had also shown interest in investing in the oil city in Gwadar. The government is currently negotiating with Saudi state oil company ARAMCO to set up an oil refinery in Gwadar, the minister said.
“Both UAE and Korea want to set up oil refineries in the port city,” he said. The minister further informed the committee that free trade agreement with China would be finalised during next fiscal year.
Members of the committee raised questions over inclusion of third party in CPEC. Khusro Bakhtiar said that CPEC was a strategic bilateral legal framework agreement between Pakistan and China and no third country could become partner in the framework. However, he said that any investment in the CPEC projects by any third country would be done after prior approval of the two countries. The committee also showed concern over the issues of missing portion of CPEC Western Route and directed the federal government to complete the portion from Dera Ismail Khan to Zob, from Zob to Queta and from Queta to Sohrab on priority basis. Senator Usman Kakar said that work on the project was pending for long and previous government had shown least interest in the project.
The planning minister said that the Western Route was an integral part of CPEC and the government was giving high priority to this route.
The committee was informed that the D.I. Khan-Zhob portion of Western Route was being constructed under CPEC and it was on the agenda of Joint Coordination Committee on CPEC to be held in Beijing in the current month. The minister assured the committee that remaining parts of the route which were not under CPEC would be included in Public Sector Development Programme and work on these projects would be initiated soon.
Director General National Highway Authority Arbab Ali informed the committee that PC-1 of the 210-kilometre D.I. Khan-Zhob section was approved by ECNEC on April 12, 2017 and it had been shortlisted to be included in the agenda of the upcoming JCC meeting.
With regard to up-gradation of Railway Mailline-1 project, the minister said that the government was also looking for inviting third party including Japan or Germany to invest in this project.
Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar said that the present government had established new joint working groups on CPEC in agriculture and socio-economic sectors to increase cooperation in these sectors. The minister said that these two sectors would be on agenda of the upcoming JCC meeting.