ISLAMABAD: The Cabinet Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has decided to perform groundbreaking of an important phase of the corridor’s western route later this month.
This was stated by Planning and Development Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar while briefing media on Wednesday.
He said that this step would mitigate the sense of deprivation of the people living along the western corridor, adding that 60pc work on Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan section of the corridor has already been completed.
The minister said the government is focusing on connecting the missing links in the eastern corridor and in this regard, work on Sukkur-Hyderabad section would commence in the next six to eight months.
He said the committee ruled out diversification of funds from CPEC projects, as all sectors under the corridor have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals.
“Projects worth $28 billion are presently being implemented with the cooperation of China,” he stated, adding that the committee specially specified six sectors for development under CPEC, including agriculture, education, health, poverty alleviation, water supply and sanitation.
The minister said the Chinese government has decided to release $1 billion for these projects in the next three years while half of the amount would be spent during the first year.
He informed media that agriculture is a priority area under the CPEC and a team of Chinese experts would soon visit Pakistan to identify areas for the development of food processing so as to boost agricultural exports.
He said the cabinet committee also decided to perform groundbreaking of Gwadar International Airport this month, adding that the committee has also decided to set up CPEC Business Forum at the earliest.