A two-member delegation from National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Limited (NESPAK) led by Managing Director Dr. Tahir Masood visited Baku, Azerbaijan for business appraisal. It was a high profile visit in the wake of rehabilitation of recently liberated areas of Karabakh region in Azerbaijan as there is an opportunity for the Top Pakistani Engineering Consultant to work there and share development efforts of the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan.
During the visit, the delegation held separate meetings with Mr. Mikayil Jabbarov, the Minister of Economy, Mr. Inam Karimov, the Minister of Agriculture and Mr. Ilgar Isbatov, the Chairman of State Committee on Urban Planning and Architecture of the Republic of Azerbaijan as well as senior officials of the Ministry of Energy and Ministry of Ecology. During the meetings, the delegation made presentations highlighting the expertise of their services in the field of Engineering Consultancy.
At the meetings, the hosts appreciated the services and experience of NESPAK in the development sector and showed keen interest to engage NESPAK for upcoming projects in Azerbaijan.
Ambassador Bilal Hayee accompanied the delegation during all these meetings and highlighted the ongoing warm relationship between the two countries and also desired to enhance the cooperation in the development sector. It is worthy to be mentioned here that NESPAK has already been providing top class engineering consultancy services in Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone and has recently secured a hydropower project in Uzbekistan.
Central Development Working Party (CDWP), under the chairmanship of Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar, accorded approval to a project worth Rs.552.708 million and recommended 03 projects worth Rs.209.5 billion to ECNEC. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, senior officials from federal and provincial governments were also present in the meeting. Projects related to energy, transport and communication sectors were presented in the meeting. Three projects related to energy were presented. The first energy project ‘500 KV HVDC Transmission System between Tajikistan and Pakistan for Central Asia-South Asia Transmission Interconnection (CASA-1000)’ worth Rs.45989.084 million was presented by Power Division which was recommended to ECNEC for consideration. The project envisions transmission of electricity from Tajikistan to Pakistan through Afghanistan. Energy & Power Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa presented second energy project ‘Preparation Advance facility for proposed World Bank assisted Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hydropower Development Project (PC-II)’ worth Rs.552.708 million which was approved by CDWP. The main objective of the project is to accelerate hydropower development in KP. The World Bank assistance is being sought to accelerate development of hydropower projects in the province. The third energy project ‘Balakot Hydropower Project’ worth Rs.85912.926 million was presented by Energy & Power Department of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which was recommended to ECNEC for consideration. The project envisions construction of 310 MW Balakot hydropower project on Kunhar river, a major tributary of Jhelum river. The energy generated will provide more reliable and consistent power to local area and the national grid. In the transport and communication sector, Government of Sindh presented ‘Construction of BRT Red Line Project’ worth Rs.77598 million which was also referred to ECNEC for consideration. The project envisages construction of metro bus dedicated corridors measuring 29.1 km in length, from Numaish to Malir Halt depot and common corridor of 2.4 km. The project shall contribute to develop a sustainable urban bus transport system in Karachi with less travel time and enhanced mobility and accessibility. Estimated passengers per day would be 320000. Concept Clearance proposal of FBR’s project ‘Domestic Resource Mobilization’ worth US $ 400 million was also given approval by CDWP. Speaking on the occasion, Minister for Planning said that the incumbent Government has the political will and is committed to enhance tax revenue collection by mobilizing internal resources. He expressed optimism that FBR will bring the best policy under the proposal for increasing tax revenue collection. Government of Sindh presented concept clearance proposal of ‘Karachi Urban Mobility Project (Yellow Line Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)’ worth Rs.65968 which was also approved by CDWP.
Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the Government accords top priority to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project. He said that the project will not only help in translating all weather Pak-China relations into mutually beneficial economic equation but will also open new vistas of opportunities for the entire region. The Prime Minister was meeting with representatives of 15 leading Chinese companies working on various CPEC and other projects in Pakistan. The Chinese delegation included representatives from Power China, Three Gorges Corporation, CMEC Neelum Jhelum Power Plant Project, Cr-Norinco Orange Line Project, Huawei, Zong, Port Qasim Power Plant, China Gezhouba Corporation, China State Construction, China Harbour, Matiari-Lahore Transmission Line Project, Haier and other companies. Chinese Ambassador to Pakistan Mr Yao Jing accompanies the delegation. Mr. Omar Ayub Khan, Minister for Power, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Planning, Mr Haroon Sharif, Chairman BOI, Mr. Nadeem Babar, Chairman Energy Task Force and other senior officials were also present. Talking to the Chinese delegation, the Prime Minister said that the Government will provide all possible facilitation to the Chinese companies in undertaking profitable business ventures and taking advantage of business friendly policies of the present government. Chinese Ambassador while conveying greetings from Chinese President and Premier, said that Chinese leadership is looking forward to the visit of Prime Minister to China. He thanked the Prime Minister on behalf of Chinese leadership and business community for his personal interest in facilitating Chinese businessmen and addressing their issues. He assured the Prime Minister that Chinese companies will continue to partner with the government in socio-economic development of Pakistan.
Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat, Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) paid farewell visit to President Dr. Arif Alvi. President Dr. Arif Alvi has appreciated the excellent services rendered by Lieutenant General Omar Mahmood Hayat throughout his career. He particularly praised his leadership role in strengthening Disaster Management Mechanism of the country as Chairman National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA). President wished the retiring General the best for the future.
Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said that the present Government is focusing on developing the agriculture sector on modern lines to improve the livelihoods of small farmers and enhance its contribution in the national economy noting that agriculture constitutes the largest sector of economy. He stated that in this regard agriculture cooperation with China will be enhanced under CPEC framework. The Minister was talking to Federal Minister for National Food Security & Research Sahibzada Mehboob Sultan who called on him in Islamabad. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Secretary National Food Security Dr. Muhammad Hashim Popalzai and Project Director CPEC Hassan Daud were also present in the meeting. Minister for Planning said efforts are underway to initiate joint ventures with leading Chinese agriculture companies in various sectors of agriculture to enhance agricultural output and value addition of agricultural products for mutual benefit of both countries. He highlighted that there was a lot of scope for increasing cooperation between the countries particularly in areas of livestock, fisheries, citrus, mango, rice, potatoes and horticulture. Makhdum Khusro apprised that CPEC Business Advisory Council has been constituted which will have representation from leading companies dealing in various sectors including agriculture the purpose of which will be to identify new areas for future collaboration with China under CPEC. During the meeting, deliverables in different areas of agriculture for the proposed visit of the Prime Minister to China to participate in the second Belt & Road Forum this month came under discussion. It was discussed that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Foot & Mouth Disease is also expected to be signed during the Prime Minister’s visit.
Mr. Yao Jing, Chinese Ambassador in Islamabad called on Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar. The Ambassador appreciated Government of Pakistan’s efforts to fast track the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects particularly the groundbreaking of western route, Minister for Planning hailed China’s support for implementation of Gwadar Airport project. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Member Private Sector Asim Saeed, Project Director CPEC Hasan Daud and senior officials were also present on the occasion. Makhdum Khusro said that the present Government attaches top priority to the development of Gwadar, highlighting that Prime Minister Imran Khan in his recent visit to Balochistan performed groundbreaking of the Rs. 65 billion Zhob-Kuchlak section of western route, Rs. 17 billion project of transmission line for Makran coast, Rs. 23 billion new Gwadar Airport project, hospital as well as vocational institute. The implementation of 300 MW energy project in Gwadar will be aligned with the development of Gwadar. Minister said that CPEC has gained momentum and efforts would be made to continue the same pace in future. He stated that first special economic zone at Rashakai will be launched soon in order to enter into the implementation stage of Pak-China Industrial Cooperation. He further said that cooperation will be further strengthened by formal framework agreement focusing on joint ventures, and B2B cooperation. The Minister emphasized the need for robust cooperation between the business communities of the two countries. ‘We should move towards Pak-China Business Forum with representatives from leading companies of the two countries in various areas’, said the Minister. During the meeting, deliverables for the proposed visit of the Prime Minister to China to participate in the second Belt & Road Forum this month came under discussion regarding areas of industry cooperation, agriculture, socio-economic development and infrastructure. The Minister called for cooperation in agriculture, fisheries and livestock sectors between the two countries to benefit from the enormous potential this area offers.