CPEC Monthly Monitor – January 2018
A plan to provide clean water in Gwadar, if properly implemented, may help in alleviating concerns raised by smaller provinces of being ignored. Government remains optimist about CPEC dividends, even deflecting the level of debt that may accrue. It has even earmarked more than a billion dollars for CPEC security division. CPEC will help promote regional connectivity as Indonesia, United Kingdom (UK) and Australia are interested to join CPEC.
These were some of the key developments occurring in January 2018. The findings have been shared in CPEC monthly monitor, released by CPEC Watch, an initiative of Pak Institute for Peace Studies (PIPS), an Islamabad-based think tank.
Every month, CPEC Watch releases a monthly monitor summarizing key development occurring around China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Below are the salient ones for January 2018:
- Although federal government remains upbeat about the involvement of all provinces in the project, there are still some voices asking for share in the CPEC. Even the original demand of prioritizing western route refuses to die down, a demand that echoed in January 2018 too. Statements by authorities indicate that the entire country will be included tomorrow, if not today.
- Latest reports indicate that projects are in the offing to provide clean water for residents in Gwadar. Earlier, a paradoxical picture was emerging from Gwadar; on the one hand, it was projected as strategic port; on the other hand, local politicians complained of access to clean water. The new projects, of providing clean water to residents, will help earn trust in CPEC.
- National and international financial institutions are optimist about economic development of Pakistan. State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) projected industrialization and growth of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) under the CPEC while the Asian Development Bank (ADB) is ready to support Pakistan to realize the potential of CPEC. Moreover, the government maintained that national debt will essentially not increase under the CPEC.
- There are other issues too that demand attention. Reports that a Chinese company might be exempted from paying taxes drew criticism from senators worried about local industries. Government said the exemption is for business community in general who wants to import machinery for CPEC.
- For CPEC security, government has earmarked Rs 10,026 million (more than 1 billion) for setting up Special Security Division (SSD) for CPEC. In Sindh, 813 police constables were recruited to the remaining posts of Special Protection Unit (SPU). Sindh government also urged the federal government to develop some rules for registration of CPEC-linked Chinese nationals.
- On the geo-strategic front, Indonesia and United Kingdom (UK) have expressed their willingness to join the CPEC. And Australia too is interested to invest in SEZs under the CPEC. Meanwhile, both China and Pakistan discredited reports about China building military base in Gwadar. India’s objections remained; China has reportedly kept the option open of resolving those objections.
Read complete “CPEC Monitor – January 2018” (PDF)