ISLAMABAD – Chinese experts have shortlisted around two dozen projects to be funded with the Chinese grant in the provinces and regions under CPEC, it was learnt reliably here.
After meeting with the officials from all the provinces and regions, the Chinese experts have decided to shortlist around two dozen projects, for socio economic development, in six designated areas of education, agriculture, poverty alleviation, skill development, healthcare, water supply and vocational training projects, official source told The Nation here Thursday.
The Chinese delegation headed by Du Zhenli, comprising of 13 experts from socioeconomic development field, arrived here during last week of February and was here for around 12 days. China is likely to extend a grant of one billion dollars for the socio economic development under CPEC and the projects in six identified areas will be funded through China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA).
During its stay in Pakistan, the Chinese experts have held meetings with the federal, provincial, GB and AJK officials. The delegations also visited Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to get on the ground briefing about some of the proposed projects by the provinces. The provinces and regions had submitted around 100 projects to the Chinese experts to secure grant for the socioeconomic development under CPEC. The projects submitted by the provinces and AJK include, in agriculture, fisheries, livestock, health, solarization of water supply schemes, telemedicine, smart schools etc, said the source. However all of them are small projects which are worth Rs 100 million to Rs 300 million, the source said.
The expert group discussed the implementation of newly introduced sector of socioeconomic development under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The experts also discussed 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).
After due consideration, the expert group has shortlisted some projects and it has decided that in first phase it will start the execution of projects with shortest implementation time. For example, the source said, there was a demand of establishing burn centers from all the provinces and regions, therefore it was decided to execute these projects in the first phase. The project is easy to execute and can be completed within few months, said the source. Since the infrastructure is already available in the hospitals and it will requires only equipments therefore can be completed in short term, said the source.
The other shortlisted in six different areas includes, upgrading veterinary centers to fight diseases in livestock particularly foot and mouth disease, training of Pakistanis in China as well as upgradation of vocational institutions, establishment of fruit processing centers, dates processing center, help in fisheries sector, solarization of water schemes, smart schools, poverty alleviation etc. These projects will be executed in phases within a span of three years.
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 finalize the projects and its sites in already agreed six different areas.