Yao Jing says China will press ahead with CPEC despite challenges posed by the virus
ISLAMABAD: The multibillion-dollar projects being implemented under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would not be affected by the temporary challenge of coronavirus, declared Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the Energy Week, organised by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), Yao emphasised that despite the challenges being faced because of the coronavirus, China was determined to move forward on CPEC.
He stated that the next stage of CPEC would focus on cooperation among diverse sectors. He expressed confidence that it would give a new momentum to future development of Pakistan’s economy.
Moreover, he appreciated the structural reforms being introduced by Pakistan government and added that the energy sector of Pakistan was undergoing transformation, which was focused on providing affordable and reliable energy.
He stressed that the Chinese government and investors would fully cooperate with Pakistan in that endeavour.
Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Power Omar Ayub said the government was targeting to provide sustainable, affordable and reliable power to the consumers by producing 75-80% of electricity from domestic resources. The minister apprised people at the conference that the government had formulated a renewable energy policy under which the share of alternative sources of energy would be increased to 20% by 2025 and 30% by 2030.
Ayub highlighted that the energy sector of Pakistan offered investment opportunities of $100 billion including $45 billion in power generation, $20 billion in transmission and $15-20 billion in distribution. The minister expressed satisfaction that several companies were evincing interest in relocating their manufacturing facilities to Pakistan for the production of wind turbines and solar panels.
Nepra Chairman Tauseef H Farooqi pointed out that circular debt had increased to Rs1,900 billion. “We have to give attention to the power sector to make improvement,” he said.
CPEC Authority Chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa said, “We are going to start the second phase of CPEC after completing the first phase; projects under the second phase will be completed in time.”
He said development work was continuing on the western route of CPEC, adding that a majority of the energy projects under the programme had been completed. He was of the view that coronavirus would not affect the progress on CPEC and initiatives were being taken to take benefit of Thar coal.
Published in The Express Tribune, February 25th, 2020.