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ISLAMABAD: The Government of Punjab reportedly stunned high level officials by claiming that 365 Chinese Nationals are working on CPEC and non-CEPC projects on expired visas in Punjab; however, Interior Ministry is not ready to accept it, well-informed sources told Business Recorder.

This claim came from the Government of Punjab at a meeting held on February 9, 2023 to review progress on CPEC projects. Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives, Ahsan Iqbal attended the meeting. Chief Secretary and Home Secretary Punjab represented the province whereas Minister of Interior represented his Ministry.

The representative of Government of Punjab stated that all issues related to pending payments and oil seepage have been resolved.

Moreover, the NTDC has noted that work on voltage fluctuation issue is under process which will be resolved in two weeks’ time.

According to sources, Pakistani Mission in China noted that Ministry of Finance of China, Exim Bank, and NRA are working on financial mechanism for the ML-1 project. And the Joint Financial Committee meeting is expected in March 2023 to finalize the terms and kick start the package-1 of ML-1.

The sources maintained that the Chinese side requested Pakistani side to share the updated feasibility study of KCR as the feasibility study carried out in 2017 is now outdated.

The Sindh government was asked to share the updated study of KCR. The representative of Government of Sindh assured to discuss the matter with the consultant and give timelines for updating the feasibility within 15 days.

Secretary Communica-tion informed that four Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for MMM, Babusar Tunnel, N-50 and M-9 have been approved from the Cabinet Division and ready to be signed. Further, the Ministry of Communication proposed to hold the 10th Joint Working Group (JWG) meeting in first week of April 2023.

Ministry of Foreign Affairs was asked to take up the matter with Chinese side for convening the JWG meeting on infrastructure at the earliest.

Private Power & Infrastructure Board (PPIB) stated that draft minutes for upcoming JEWG have been finalized with NEA and following agenda points have been agreed for the meeting; (i) Sinosure-financing issues for two coal and two hydropower projects, including Pakistan’s briefing on Revolving Account matter; (ii) Advanced Metering Infrastructure-AMI; (iii) solar projects (new initiatives of the Government of Pakistan and; (iv) identification study of pumped storage hydropower projects.

The meeting noted that two working level meetings were held among Power Division, NEA, PPIB, CPPA-G, CPEC IPPs and lending banks on January 3, 2023 and February 3, 2023, respectively. It was decided that one more follow-up meeting will be coordinated among all stakeholders in coming weeks.

Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives directed PPIB and CPPA-G to include the settlement of Revolving Account matter in the minutes of upcoming JEWG meeting.

Pakistan embassy in Beijing will follow up with Sinosure for clearance of 700-MW Azad Pattan HPP, 1124-MW Kohala HPP, 1320 Thar Block-1 and 300-MW Gwadar coal power plant. Pakistan embassy in Beijing will also explain progress on Revolving Account and improvement in tariff payments for CEPC IPPs to Sinosure.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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