ISLAMABAD: The sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs was told that the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC) had given a grant of US$1.2 billion to carry out the development work in the area of Gwadar Port.
“The China desires to see Pakistan as a prosperous state,” Chairman COPHC Zang Baozhong said while briefing the sub-committee about the issues faced by the company for the area’s development.
The panel, which met here with Senator Kauda Babar in chair, called for expediting the work in Gwadar Port and facilitating the local and foreign investors while reviewing various issues pertaining to the port and its investors.
The committee chairman appreciated the interest of Chinese investors in the development of Pakistan and promised all-out support to them for executing the development projects in the area, assuring the company that their issues would be resolved on priority.
Taking up the issue of Internet connectivity with the PTCL, the Committee took exception over its demand and summoned the Secretary Ministry of Information Technology in the next meeting along with the telecommunications’ company senior officers to discuss the issue at length.
Discussing the establishment of the Transit Trade Directorate at Gwadar Port, the committee was informed that the matter was under discussion and the meetings with the Ministry of Commerce and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) were being held.
Gwadar Port was fully equipped with the facilities that are required to handle variety of shipments, it further informed.
The committee was briefed that the Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited had rolled out the WeBOC transit trade module in the area while a User Acceptance Test (UAT) was in the anvil.
The Ministry of Commerce informed the committee that the negotiations were being carried out by bonded careers such as the National Logistic Cell and Pak-Afghan Cargo Services.
A Special Incentives Package had been offered to the Afghan Transit Traders the ministry officials said while briefing the committee about development of system that would help direct all Afghan transit trade from Karachi to Gwadar.
Chairman Committee, Senator Kauda Babar was of the view that Gwadar would never want to deprive Karachi of business, however, those who wished to use Gwadar Port must be facilitated.
Discussing Tax exemptions pertaining to Gwadar Port and GFZ, the Committee was informed that the matter was under review at the Ministry of Law and Justice for its recommendations.
Reviewing the progress on Eastbay Expressway, the Committee stressed the need to protect the interest of locals.
It was recommended that the Planning Commission be summoned in the next meeting to review the matter in greater detail.
Chairman Committee directed the Gwadar Port Authority to expedite all matters so that the Port may become fully operational by October 15, 2019, after which the Committee would visit the site.
The Ministry of Commerce, FBR and Custom Directorate were directed to brief the Committee regarding the existing rules and regulations related to the development of a zone at the port where the Chinese trawlers could store fish caught in international waters for the export.
The meeting was attended by Senator Moula Bux Chandio, and senior officers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Gwadar Port Authority FBR, PTCL along with all concerned.