The Chinese President XI Jinping during his historical visit to Pakistan in 2014 remarked that the friendship of Pakistan Chinese is based on people to people; the same historical words were uttered by then Chinese leaders who visited Pakistan in 1964 and in 1966 during Field Marshall Ayub Khan era. Prime minister Imran Khan is happy to note that his government has carried out construction work of the state of the art project at full pace and completed it despite the Covid 19 pandemic. CPEC projects under Chinese president XI Jinping Belt and Road Initiative relaxed to industrialization and innovation in agriculture would be launched in the next phase.
It’s hoped that the completion of CPEC projects would lead to wealth creation and help the government pay off heavy debt. On the other side, a report by the US-based research Lab Aid Data on the nature of Chinese financing for infrastructure schemes under the multi-billion dollar CPEC initiative should once again lead to calls for greater transparency in the projects being executed in Pakistan since 2015.it should also bring up questions about the impact of CPEC borrowing s on our economy and how the projects will be paid for. The assurance of Advisor Khalid Mansoor on CPEC affairs that everything is in the open and there’s is no hidden debt does not allay concerns; in fact the PTI; when in opposition; had demanded complete transparency in CPEC investments.
How public is going to benefit from ongoing CPEC projects?
But now in government, it has done nothing to make public the cost or conditions of the CPEC deals with China government; companies and the banks; keeping the matter strictly under wraps just as its predecessor had done. As per the report which has been reported in media which has mostly collated scattered data and information to weigh the hidden costs of CPEC, sufficiently elaborates on the potential impact of Chinese loans for the power and transport infrastructure on Pakistan economy.
We are not aware of the number of tax waivers and exemptions given to Chinese firms executing public or private projects. The CPEC initiative has largely helped Pakistan fill its power and transport infrastructure gaps and may be a boon for the nation faltering economy going forward, but it is deplorable that people get information on Chinese Investments from foreign sources. Indeed; considering that most of the deals analyzed were linked during the Nawaz Shareef era and that the PM Imran khan government accuses the previous government of having made a lot of money on these schemes, it is a wonder the government is not respecting the people rights to know on what terms these deals were concluded and who, if anyone; benefited from them at their expense.
Affirming the returns given to power projects under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor is on the higher side. Mr. Asad Omar federal minister for planning and development is of the view details of all Chinese loans have been shared with the International Monetary Fund and these are more Economical than all other loans; including those obtained from multilateral and other Western lenders.
Kanwar Dilshad is former Secretary, Election Commission of Pakistan, Islamabad. He is the Founder and Chairman of the National Democratic Foundation. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Global Village Space.