Govt decides to convince Chinese firms


ISLAMABAD: The federal government has decided to convince Chinese power projects established China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) for staggering payment of their outstanding dues of about Rs 350 billion, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

This was decided at a high level meeting on CEPC projects, presided over by Prime Minister, Shehbaz Sharif.

Prime Minister has also held a luncheon meeting with the representatives of Chinese projects and directly heard their grievances.

Issues faced by Chinese companies in respect of non-CPEC projects, and steps being taken to address these issues along with timelines also came under discussion. Chinese embassy and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of power projects are continuously writing to all the concerned authorities and seeking their help for payment of their dues, pending since long.

“Prime Minister has directed Power Division and Finance Division to negotiate with CPEC IPPs to agree to a staggered payment schedule or other suitable modalities for payment of their outstanding dues and submit a comprehensive proposal at the earliest,” sources added.

An inquiry has also been ordered against Managing Private Power& Infrastructure Board (PPIB), Shah Jahan Mirza to probe as to why he was unaware of the commitment given by the government of Pakistan for payment of Rs 100 billion to Chinese power producers. PTI government had approved Rs 100 billion for CPEC IPPs, of which Rs 50 billion were paid to them prior to the visit of former Prime Minister Imran Khan to China in February this year whereas remaining amount was released later.

The meeting also decided that in case of coal power projects using imported coal, Power Division shall explore the possibility of using local coal in place of imported coal and submit a way forward along with timelines.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Petroleum Division have been directed to pursue M/s Centinco which has shown an interest in investing $ 15 billion in a Petrochemical and Industrial Park at Gwadar.

Minister for Planning along with Board of Investment shall personally visit Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC and hold meeting with Provincial authorities for resolving outstanding issues and suggest way forward along with timelines. Meeting to review progress on SEZs shall be held immediately after return of Prime Minister from Turkey.

In respect of ML-1 project, the meeting decided that MOFA will approach National Railway Administration (NRA) of China through Pakistan’s ambassador to China for expediting their response to the communication sent by the Ministry of Railways.

Ministry of Finance, Planning Division, Railways Division and Board of Investment shall workout the strategy to address issues relating to underwriting of ML-1 project by Sinosure, whereas Ministry of Railways shall revise PC-1 of the ML-1 project at the earliest.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs has also been directed to approach Iranian side for early finalization of agreement for laying transmission lines for provision of electricity to Gwadar.

Communications Division will pursue amicable settlement of disputes with Chinese companies in respect of Thakot-Havelian section, in addition to expediting realignment of KKH Thakot-Railkot section and address theft issues on Sukkur-Multan section.

Aviation Division noted that the issue raised by M/s Beijing Urban Construction Group will be resolved through absorption of additional project cost on account of anti-dumping duties by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Prime Minister also directed visa issues of CPEC/ Chinese companies should be addressed at the earliest. The Cabinet Committee on CPEC will be reconstituted/ notified with well-defined Terms of Reference (ToRs).

The sources said, during the meeting under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, potential opportunities for future investments in solar energy projects, wind energy projects, water supply schemes for Karachi (similar to K-IV) and desalination plant, etc) also came under discussion.