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Chinese IPPs Circular debt: Outstanding amount increases to Rs350bn

ISLAMABAD: With increasing pressure to pay the backlog, the current outstanding payment on account of circular debt for Chinese Independent Power Producers (IPPs) has increased to Rs350 billion.

“The outstanding backlog of Chinese IPPs is Rs350 billion; 14% of it is being accounted for, while the other 86% is being paid on schedule. During a CPEC review meeting conducted here on Friday, it was revealed that the CPPAG had stated that it would be further upgraded.

The meeting was presided over by Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, who also reviewed the Joint Working Groups’ upcoming discussion on Special Economic Zones, ML-1, KCR, and several new development initiatives (JWGs).

The CPEC progress review committee was informed that the Chinese side was working on finance mechanisms for this multibillion-dollar project, but no significant progress had been made toward finalizing the financing plan for the construction of the eagerly anticipated ML-1 project.

Top official sources were quoted as saying in the meeting that “a Joint Finance Committee meeting on ML-1 is expected within the current month to finalize the terms and launch the Package-1 of ML-1.”

The Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) updated feasibility study was sought from Pakistan by the Chinese side as the 2017 research was out of date.

It was requested that the KCR updated feasibility report be shared with the Sindh government. The representative of the Sindh government promised to address the issue with consultants and provide timetables for upgrading the viability within 15 days.

The planning minister underlined the need of boosting Pakistan’s exports and gave the go-ahead to implement the prime minister’s suggestion to China to send professionals to assist in developing Pakistan’s export industry during his visit to that country. He claimed that increasing exports was the government’s top priority for the 5Es program and that Pakistan could profit from Chinese competence in this area.

It was also discussed how Special Economic Zones (SEZs) have changed, and the minister gave instructions on how to use SEZs to boost exports. According to him, SEZs might promote cooperation and innovation, which could result in the creation of new goods and services that are better adapted to meet the needs of global markets.

The panel also covered suggestions for the next Joint Working Group (JWG), such as identification studies for pumped storage hydropower projects and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) solar projects. Ahsan gave the authorities the task of reviewing the entire matrix and providing progress reports.

He also spoke about the ML-1 and KCR programs. The minister declared, “We are dedicated to the CPEC development and ensuring its successful implementation. We are appreciative of China’s ongoing help in this area and are taking all necessary steps to address the urgent challenges and increase exports.

The need for Pakistan and China to work closely together to ensure the effective execution of the CPEC and accomplish the shared objective of regional prosperity was emphasized as the meeting came to a close.

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