Ministry of Planning clarifies a news article on CPEC debt

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: The Ministry of Planning, Development & Reform has clarified a news article regarding CPEC debt, published in a section of press on December 26, 2018.

“The article is based on incorrect information, baseless assumptions and biased analysis. It is hereby clarified that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a flagship and most active project of Belt and Road Initiative with CPEC finances comprises of government to government loans, private investment and grants. To date, 22 projects are progressing in various stages of implementation,” said a press release issued on Wednesday.

The government of Pakistan financial liability is only to the tune of US $6 billion comprising of low interest loans and grants in infrastructure projects spread over 20 to 25 years payback period. Therefore, giving the impression US$ 40 billion as liability on Pakistan is false, baseless and distorted.

The energy projects are being executed purely under Independent Power Producers (IPPs) mode and finances are mainly taken by the private companies against their own balance sheets. Therefore, debt would be borne by the investors instead of any obligation on part of the Pakistani government.

The dividends of the energy sector projects are also based on profit and loss and are subject to individual company’s financing policies.

The debt accruing is also amortized in the financial structure and is included in the project viability analysis and business plans of the private enterprise. Therefore, CPEC is not imposing any burden with respect to loans repayment and energy sector outflows.

The CPEC outflows would start from the year 2021 and spread over 20 to 25 years. The resultant benefits of these investments to the Pakistan economy would far outweigh these outflows.

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It may be highlighted that the data on the inflow/outflow is prepared in consultation with relevant stakeholders including the ministry of finance and the same is available in public domain for discussion with relevant institutions.

With respect to the statistics quoted by the journalist regarding inflow of CPEC projects, it is again clarified that with mutual consultation of the two governments, it has been decided to broaden the scope and expedite pace of CPEC. Innovative financing mechanisms are being developed for financing new projects in CPEC.

Therefore, the inflow of CPEC projects will continue to increase in the form of private investment in Special Economic Zones (which were prioritized in the recent JCC meeting), energy projects through indigenous resources, agriculture, socio economic development sector and infrastructure based on pragmatic planning and due diligence on both sides.