CPEC project to be completed in phases: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD, Jan 5 (APP): Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was a project of national importance and would be completed in phases for the economic development of the country.

Addressing media persons after inauguration of GEO Spatial Technology Cell set up at the Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms, he said, in the first phase, the road connectivity would be completed to interconnect not only all the provinces but also the entire region.

He said that no new road was being constructed under this project but the existing roads were being upgraded to connect different areas of the country.

Ahsan Iqbal said the 650 KM Gwadar-Surab road was being completed on priority basis to link the all important Gwadar Port with rest of the country.

He informed that upgradation of Quetta-DI Khan road was imperative keeping in view its importance.

Terming the CPEC equally beneficial for the entire country, the Minister informed that he would soon hold a meeting with Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhaw to remove his reservations regarding the project.

He said, federal government would fulfill all the commitments made at All Parties Conference (APC) in May, 2015, and would build Western route, passing through backward areas of KPK and Balochistan on priority basis.

The Minister however cautioned that this project of national importance would not be politicized as political point scoring could discourage foreign investors.

He said, this project was an opportunity which would put the country on rapid path of progress and development.

Responding to a question about the setting up on energy and infrastructure development projects in different parts of the country, he said out of total 46 billion dollars, 38 billion dollars would be invested in power sector through private investors.

The government could not force them to initiate these projects at sites of its choice, he added.

The minister said the remaining six billion dollars would be a concessional financing from Chinese government for the projects of infrastructure.

Responding to yet another question regarding selection of the sites for the energy projects, he said as the CPEC was a bilateral project, any project would be set up at a particular site after complete consensus of the experts of both countries.

About GEO Spatial Technology Cell, he said, the cell would help application of infrastructure planning and economic development on the scientific basis.

He said this cell would also monitor progress on the work of different infrastructure projects being completed under the CPEC initiative.