CPEC entering important phase, says minister


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KARACHI: Federal Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar said on Sunday the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is entering an important phase as the projects to be built under it pertain not just to infrastructure but other vital areas as well.

Just as the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government worked day and night to contain the spread of Covid-19, it would strive to make every project launched under the umbrella of CPEC a success, said the minister.

He was speaking at a ceremony held at the port here to mark the arrival of equipment and machinery for setting up a steel mill in the Rashakai Special Economic Zone.

Mr Umar termed the occasion another manifestation of the exceptional relations between Pakistan and China.

Machinery for a steel mill to be set up in Rashakai economic zone arrives

He said that CRBC, a Chinese firm, had entered into an agreement with the government for attracting foreign investment for development and marketing of the Rashakai economic zone.

The work for provision of basic necessities, including electricity, at the economic zone was going on at a fast pace, said the minister.

He said the Chinese company called Century Steel would set up a steel mill at the Rashakai economic zone with an investment of $240 million. The mill would produce about 1.5 million tonnes of steel per year.

During the construction phase of the project over 600 Pakistanis would get jobs while in the second phase more than 1,000 people would be provided employment.

Turning to the issue of China-Pakistan relations, Mr Umar simply said whenever Islamabad needed assistance Beijing was there to help the former.

Speaking on the occasion, Chinese Consul General in Karachi Li Bijian said that due to concerted efforts of the PTI government Pakistan’s economy was improving despite the negative effects of Covid-19 pandemic. In particular, the construction sector was witnessing growth and the demand for steel had increased.

Due to the great efforts put in by the two countries, the first phase of CPEC had been completed successfully, said the consul general.

“We are quite confident of attracting more and more investments to the Rashakai SEZ,” said Mr Li.

He thanked the Pakistan government, in particular chairman of the CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa, for his untiring efforts to turn CPEC into a success story.

He said the arrival of equipment and machinery for the Century Steel’s plant at Rashakai was just a beginning as several more projects were in the pipeline.

Besides the federal minister and the Chinese consul general, Mr Bajwa, representatives of Century Steel, and officers of the Karachi Port Trust were present on the occasion.

Published in Dawn, April 5th, 2021



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