Chinese IPPs again ask govt to clear their outstanding dues worth billions of rupees

ISLAMABAD   –   Chinese Independent Power Producers (IPPs) have once again asked the government to clear their outstanding dues worth billions of rupees and warned of default if the matter was not resolved immediately.

The issue was raised by the Chinese IPPs in a meeting with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal here on Monday. The planning minister held a meeting with the heads of Chinese companies working on CPEC projects in order to resolve their issues and to expedite the projects. The minister expressed his displeasure over non-redressal of pending issues faced by Chinese investors during past four years impacting adversely the progress of CPEC Plan.

During the meeting, each Chinese investor shared issues with the minister related to government departments and visas. The meeting also discussed the hurdles faced by the Chinese in changes in their visa status. Regarding the conversion of the Chinese visa status, the minister directed the Ministry of Interior, Board of Investment BOI and Ministry of Foreign Affairs to devise a comprehensive mechanism for the resolution of their visa issues. The minister stressed the importance of facilitating foreign investors and businessmen and asked the Ministry of Interior to make a soft visa policy for CEOs of big business organizations.

The meeting was attended by the Deputy Chairman Planning Commission, Secretary PD&SI, Secretary Ministry of Communication, Secretary Interior and other relevant stakeholders. Heads of over 30 Chinese companies, which are working in Pakistan on different sectors like energy, communication, Railway and others, were also present at the occasion.  The meeting lasted over three hours in which Chinese investors appreciated the steps of direct interaction with the minister since he took charge of the ministry and hoped that all issues will be resolved to make the CPEC projects successful which remained pending for over three years.

The Chinese IPPs raised the issue of their outstanding dues and warned that they will default if the matter was not resolved. The minister directed the Power Division, NEPRA and NTDC to submit their recommendations in order to resolve the issues of Chinese investors operating in the power sector.

During the meeting, the minister said that CPEC is a flagship project of friendship between the two brotherly countries and assured them that the incumbent government has taken several steps to make the CPEC project successful. “The key objective is to listen to problems of Chinese companies working in CPEC directly and to resolve the issues immediately without any further delay,” said the minister, who assured them the coalition government will speed up the pace of CPEC like it implemented during 2013-18.

While taking prompt action, minister directed the concerned ministries to submit a detailed report at the earliest on resolution of the issues so that their concerns are resolved immediately. “CPEC has to be implemented in spirit of teamwork as both China and Pakistan are iron brothers and all parties have to sit together and to resolve all the pending problems in the same spirit to make the CPEC project successful,” he added. During the meeting, the minister also directed National Highway Authority NHA to fast track highway projects. While expressing serious concerns over zero progress on Gwadar Smart City Master Plan, the minister said that it was unfortunate that since last two years Gwadar Smart City master plan could not be integrated with Gawadar Seaport master plan. The minister directed the concerned to immediately work on it and submit a report.

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