ISLAMABAD - Provinces have submitted around 100 projects to the Chinese experts to secure grant for the socioeconomic development under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

The provinces have submitted their recommendations to 13 Chinese delegates who are currently visiting Pakistan. The Chinese delegation is headed by Du Zhenli, comprising of experts from socioeconomic development field.

The expert group is discussing implementation of newly introduced sector of socioeconomic development under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).The experts held a meeting with federal, provincial government officials and Pakistani experts to identify pilot projects and its implementation mechanism.

The expert group will discuss the finalization of action plan with Pakistani experts, said the source. The finalization of action plan will help the government to launch pilot projects in the selective districts of the country. China has agreed to extend Pakistan grant for Socio-Economic Development through China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).

It is pertinent to mention here that during the 8th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) meeting of Pakistan China Economic Corridor (CPEC) held in Beijing last year December, a joint working group on socio-economic development was established and it has devised a draft action plan. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the formation of JWG on socio-economic development and MoU on poverty reduction had been signed during the Prime Minister Imran Khan visit to China in November last year.

The joint working group (JWG) had identified six areas for future cooperation which includes education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, skill development, healthcare, water supply and vocational training projects. The action plan will provide guidelines in the developments of these six areas. The initiative will be focused on less developed areas of the country particularly Balochistan, Gilgit Baltistan, southern Khyber Pakhthunkha, Northern Sindh and Southern Punjab.

Soon after the formation of working group, the federal government asked the recommendations of the provinces regarding the identifications of districts, areas of cooperation. Chinese socio-economic development experts team will hold meeting with the federal planning ministry and the officials and experts from the provinces to finaliSe the projects and its sites in already agreed six different areas.

The projects in the six identified areas will be funded through China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA). China is likely to extend a grant of one billion dollars for the socio economic development.

On Tuesday the provinces have submitted around 100 of their proposed projects to the expert group, officials sources told The Nation. The projects submitted by the provinces and AJK includes, in Agriculture, Fisheries, Health, Solarization of water supply schemes, telemedicine, smart Schools etc, said the source. However all of them are small projects which is worth Rs 100 millions to Rs 300 millions, the source said. 

Now the Chinese experts will visit some of the provinces and will evaluate the proposals of the provinces and shortlist the important project, said the source.

Meanwhile an official spokesman said that a meeting of the Minister for Planning, Development & Reform, Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar was  held with the Chinese expert delegation.The ministr said that Government of Pakistan was keen to enhance scope of China Pakistan Economic Corridor in the domain of socioeconomic development and agriculture sector keeping in view the potential of growth in these sector.

Minister for PD&R said, “We have come a long way in defining a sustainable way forward in the win-win cooperation framework between China and Pakistan”. The federal and provincial governments are making all out efforts to realize the planned CPEC projects as soon as possible, he added.

Minister said that in the second phase, scope of CPEC is being enhanced in the domains of social sector development and agriculture sector as bot the sectors hold a huge potential of growth of Pakistan. He said that government was interested to start Pilot projects in these areas with the support of China on priority.

He informed that since the 8th Joint Cooperation Committee meeting in December last, Pakistan side has worked on the projects list as per the agreed action plan in six cooperation areas, which would be shared with Chines team. “Our focus is on high impact, low gestation and low cost projects in less developed areas of Pakistan”, he remarked. He said that priority will be given to projects in the field of vocational training, job creation, agriculture and health.

The minister hoped that experts on both side will be able to firm up the proposed projects and to set up deliverables for the next meeting of the leaders in April next to further strengthen economic cooperation.