Pakistan and China have decided to expedite cooperation in the field of agriculture under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and an important meeting is expected to be held next month in this regard, an official from the Ministry of Planning, Development, and Reform informed.
The official said that the cooperation is being extended with a special focus on boosting cooperation in the areas of climate change, desertification control, desalination, water management, afforestation and ecological restoration, wetland protection and restoration, wildlife protection, forestry industry development, disaster management, risk reduction and other areas of mutual interest.
“A sub-group of CPEC agriculture sector has been elevated to a full-fledged joint working group and its meeting is planned to be held next month,” he added.
Meanwhile, he said that a team of Chinese Socio-Economic Development experts will visit Pakistan during the last week of February to finalize the projects and their sites for six different areas agreed under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including health, education, water supply, vocational training, poverty alleviation and agriculture.
To a question, he said work on all the CPEC projects is going on in a smooth way and none of the CPEC projects are facing delays; rather Pakistan and China have agreed on the future trajectory of CPEC and timely completion of its on-going projects.
Joint efforts for the future are underway, focusing on socio-economic development and accelerating cooperation in industrial development as well as agriculture, he informed.
The MoU, on the formation of JWG on Socio-economic development, and MoU on Poverty Reduction were signed during the Prime Minister’s visit to China in November this year, the official added.
Recognizing the significance of Gwadar as an important node in cross-regional connectivity and the central pillar of CPEC, he said Pakistan and China have agreed to speed up the progress on the port and its auxiliary projects.
The groundbreaking of New Gwadar Airport, vocational institute and hospital are planned in the 1st quarter of this year.
Gwadar City’s Master Plan is being prepared and it is in the final stages of formulation. Huge investment is expected in the petrochemical sector at Gwadar, he said.
He added that Pakistan and China have expedited the work on industrial cooperation under CPEC and the government has expedited development of economic zones by prioritizing Rashakai, Dhabajhi Faisalabad and ICT SEZs with a vision to make 2019 a year of industrial development under CPEC.
He said ML-1 designs and scope are being finalized jointly and government of Pakistan has prioritized implementation of Western Route project with a focus to expedite development of D.I Khan-Zhob and Zhob-Quetta sections in order to ensure uplift of less developed areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan.
The completion of two early projects of CPEC; Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (Multan-Sukkur) and KKH Phase II (Thakot -Havelian) are planned in August 2019 and March 2020 respectively but both the projects are expected to be completed ahead of the given schedule.