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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Prof Ahsan Iqbal has directed the Power Division, the NEPRA, and the NTDC to submit their recommendations in order to resolve the issues of Chinese investors operating in the power sector.

The minister held a meeting with the heads of Chinese companies working on the CPEC projects in order to resolve their issues and to expedite the projects. He stated that the CPEC has to be implemented in the 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.

Regarding the conversion of their visas, the minister directed the Ministry of Interior, the Board of Investment (BOI) and the 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 the CEOs of big business organizations.

Iqbal also directed the National Highways 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 Gwadar Seaport master plan. The minister directed the concerned to immediately work on it and submit a report.

He also expressed his displeasure over no redressal of pending issues faced by Chinese investors during past four years impacting adversely the progress of the CPEC Plan.

The meeting was held on Monday at the Ministry of Planning and Development, wherein, 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 minister said that the 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.

During the meeting, each Chinese investor shared his issues with the minister related to government departments and visas. 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.

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 were also present at the occasion, which are working in Pakistan on different sectors like energy, communication, Railway, and others.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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