ISLAMABAD: The much-awaited meeting of the Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC) on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will be held on Friday, July 16, with the aim of further expanding the scope of cooperation between the two countries and accelerate its projects.
The JCC meeting, which is being held after a hiatus of more than a year and a half, will bring together ministers and officials from Pakistan and China via video link.
“The long-awaited JCC meeting will open up new perspectives for the CPEC and speed up work on projects under construction,” retired CPEC President Lt. General Asim Saleem Bajwa said on Saturday.
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He said the meeting would help to strengthen cooperation between the two countries in the fields of science and technology, agriculture, industries and the port of Gwadar. “More infrastructure related projects will also be pledged at the JCC meeting,” he said.
Construction of the Main Railway Line-1 (ML-1) project would likely be speeded up after the meeting, as Pakistani officials would stress the need to speed up work on the project during the meeting, Bajwa said.
The construction of the ML-1 project in three phases was approved by the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council at its meeting held in August last year. Initially, the cost of the project was $ 9 billion, including the amount of equity of the government of Pakistan. But later, the cost was reduced to $ 6.8 billion.
Parliamentary Secretary for Planning, Development and Reform Kanwal Shauzab informed the National Assembly a few months ago that the total cost of CPEC projects, including ML-1, was around $ 50 billion.
Mr. Bajwa expressed hope that the meeting would be positive and that decisions on many outstanding road projects would likely be taken there.
He said decisions were taken in principle at CCM meetings while details were decided at joint working group meetings. “The JCC is CPEC’s highest decision-making forum that reviews progress on the mega project. The forum also decides on future projects, ”he said.
The last CCM meeting took place in November 2019, when Khusro Bakhtiar was Minister of Planning.
When the CCC was formed in 2015, its meetings were held every six months.
Bajwa said the 10th meeting of the JCC would be held via video link and that it would be co-chaired by Planning Minister Asad Umar and Vice Chairman of China’s National Development and Reform Commission Ning Jizhe.
In response to a question, he agreed that the CCC normally meets at least once a year but its 10th meeting is held after a considerable delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Posted in Dawn, le 11 July 2021