The Joint Working Group (JWG) on Socio-economic Development under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Framework held its second meeting to review projects under a $1 billion Chinese grant.
The meeting was co-chaired by China International Development and Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) Vice Chairman Boqing from the Chinese side and Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Secretary Mathar Niaz Rana representing Pakistani, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.
Both sides expressed satisfaction over the progress of the projects being undertaken under by the JWG in the key areas of agriculture, education, health, poverty alleviation and vocational training.
The Pakistani side appreciated the assistance provided by the Chinese government for the socioeconomic uplift of the country and also acknowledged the support extended during Covid-19 pandemic; especially in terms of medical equipment and supplies.
It was highlighted that the socio-economic cooperation between the two countries was as per the vision of the leadership of the respective sides.
The meeting reviewed the progress of fast-track and priority projects. They include agriculture technology laboratories, provision of equipment and tools and demonstration stations in the agriculture sector, a smart classroom project and an overseas student scholarship programme in the education sector.
The participants of the meeting expressed their satisfaction over the Pakistan Vocational Schools Equipment, a solarisation project in Balochistan and drinking water supply project for AJK and K-P.
Moreover, the Pak-China Friendship Hospital, a vocational technical school and a desalination plant in Gwadar were also discussed. The two sides reiterated that these projects would be completed within their scheduled time.
The Pakistani side emphasised the need expedite technical education projects including cooperative project with Pak-Austria Fachhochschule: Institute of Applied Sciences and Technology in K-P and Punjab Tianjin University of Technology.
It was also suggested to proceed with a project to set up burn centres in all provinces and regions on a priority basis.
Furthermore, the Pakistani side also discussed the poverty alleviation research project and desired to learn from Chinese experience in this area.
The Chinese side appreciated the level of preparation and commitment of the Pakistan towards early implementation of the projects and acknowledged the level of coordination provided by the Ministry of Planning, Development and Special Initiatives.
The planning secretary suggested holding monthly review meetings to speed up the implementation of the projects under the framework.
The implementation in the Covid-19 scenario also came under discussion. The meeting was concluded with the decision to prepare documents for signing as deliverable of the forthcoming 10th JCC.
It was also decided to prepare projects for 3rd phase and request was made to Chinese side to send their experts for the implementation of priority projects. The meeting was attended by senior officials and representatives of the federal ministries and provincial governments and representatives of the Chinese embassy. The two sides agreed that the pace on the implementation of the projects will be monitored to achieve the timelines.