Islamabad - Pakistan and China have agreed to consider use of Chinese currency RMB for financing $9 billion Karachi to Peshawar Railway ML-I and other CPEC projects instead of US dollar. In order to fundamentally resolve the financing issue, based on the important consensus reached by leaders of the two countries, the two sides agreed to drive RMB financing in CPEC projects, said the minutes of 9th JCC meeting available with The Nation. The 9th JCC meeting was held in Islamabad on November 5. The two sides recognized that financing had always been a notable bottleneck for CPEC project execution. The Chinese side has set up an inter-department work mechanism for RMB financing at the secretariat level.

In terms of ML-I, a separate work mechanism is set up under JWG on transport infrastructure, responsible for both technical issues and financing coordination. Both sides will work through their respective inter department teams to finalise the financing arrangement. The JCC was informed that the PC-I of the project was in approval stage and the bidding documents of ML-I were under process and will be finalised by December 15. The Chinese side agreed to constitute a high level committee for financing negotiations in near future. Pakistan has already established ML-I interdepartmental financing committee. Regarding three mass transit projects in Karachi, Quetta and Peshawar, both sides agreed on moving forward based on readiness of each project. For Karachi Circular Railway, Pakistan will submit the financing request to China.

Regarding Quetta Mass Transit and Greater Peshawar Mass Transit, both sides agreed on considering the projects in next JWG meeting after approval of PC-I of both schemes. Regarding western route Pakistan has requested China to consider signing a framework agreement for commencement of DI Khan to Zhob project in 2020 and the Chinese side agreed to have internal consultation in this regard. The JCC was informed that Metallurgical Corporation of China (MCC) and Donghua Steel had significant willingness to participate Pakistan Steel Mills up-gradation. Pakistani side requested to constitute a joint technical working group at G to G level to prepare proposal for the re-alignment of Thakot-Raikot Section of KKH.