Asad Umar rejects US think tank report, says CPEC projects carry no hidden debt
Minister for Planning and Development Asad Umar categorically said on Wednesday that the projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are transparent and carry no hidden debt.
Reacting to a recent report of an American think tank on CPEC at a news conference in Islamabad, he said details about the corridor project had been shared on multiple occasions, including at the level of the parliament. There was also a parliamentary oversight on this mega project.
“Disinformation is spread regarding the multi-billion project. It has been reported that the CPEC debts are expensive and secret. Whereas, we got cheaper loans from China in comparison with the International Monetary Fund (IMF),” said Umar during the media talk.
According to a report released last week by AidData – a US-based international development research lab – a large chunk of Chinese development financing under the CPEC consists of loans that are at or near commercial rates as opposed to grants.
The report claimed that Chinese loans under CPEC constitute 95.2per cent and 73 per cent of total commitments in the energy and transport sectors, respectively.
The minister said that some hostile elements were against the project and planning to make CPEC unsuccessful. He relayed that China gave funds for some of the projects in the form of grants.
“Twenty-six per cent of Pakistan’s foreign debt has been taken from China and the rest of the 74 per cent from western and other countries. If we have no danger from that 74 per cent debt, then why should we feel threatened by the debts taken from China?” Umar questioned.
Umar said the terms of debt financing for power projects executed under the CPEC is actually more favourable than the non-CPEC financing that had come in from other multilateral agencies.
He also clarified that the surge in the deficit was not because of the loans taken from China.
Pakistan was a part of the IMF programme, and its details, as well as details of the CPEC projects, had also been shared, he added.
Details about the CPEC projects had been provided a lot of times even in the parliament, Umar maintained.
The federal minister said information about energy projects and tariffs were with the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (NEPRA).
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