Pakistan rejects Western media portrayal of economic corridor with China

Islamabad: Pakistan has rejected Western media’s recent reporting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), terming it incorrect information based on distorted facts and one-sided opinion.

The country’s Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform said in a statement that Pakistan has opted for Chinese investment under CPEC due to the favourable financing arrangements, Xinhua reported.

It added that China stepped forward to support Pakistan’s development at the time when foreign investment had dried up, and economic activities were being crippled by energy shortages and infrastructure gaps, local media reported on Friday.

The ministry categorically denied that CPEC is imposing any immediate burden with respect to loans repayment and energy sector outflows, adding that the corridor’s outflows would start from the year 2021 and spread over 20 to 25 years with a maximum in the year of 2024 and 2025.

The CPEC has brought investment opportunities to Pakistan, and the resultant benefits of these investments to the country’s economy would far outweigh these outflows, the ministry said.

CPEC is an important and active project of the Belt and Road Initiative where 22 projects have been actualized over the past 4 years. The project could not be compared with Chinese overseas investment elsewhere as frameworks and financial modes of CPEC are altogether different in nature, the ministry said.

CPEC finances are divided in government to government loans, investment and grants. Infrastructure sector is being developed through interest free or government concessional loans.

Clearing the air on Western media’s propaganda on Gwadar Port, the ministry said that the port is grant-based investment, and the country does not have to pay back the invested amount for the development of the port.

The ministry said that energy projects are being executed under Independent Power Producers (IPPs) mode and finances are mainly taken by the private companies from China Development Bank and China Exim Bank against their own balance sheets, therefore, any debt would be borne by the Chinese investors instead of any obligation on part of the Pakistani government.