Pakistan's National Highways Authority (NHA) Executive Board on Monday initiated a settlement process for all the disputes arising with Chinese companies for two China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
CPEC is a collection of infrastructure projects worth over USD 50 billion that are under construction throughout Pakistan as part of the bigger Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) launched in 2015.
The corridor aims to rapidly upgrade the country's required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
A board meeting was held with NHA chairman Capt (retired) Muhammad Khurram Agha who deliberated on an amicable settlement of all the disputes between NHA and Chinese companies as per the directive of the Prime Minister's Office, Business Recorder reported citing sources.
The two CPEC projects included Havelian-Thakot and Multan-Sukkur Motorway.
The board gave its approval to resolve the contractual issues between the NHA and Chinese companies using a settlement agreement which will be submitted to the Executive Board for its approval.
A settlement of disputes regarding the construction of Hassanabdal-Havelian Expressway was also approved by the board along with a payment of PKR200 million against DB Awarded Amount PKR1.276 billion of all four claims.
In the past seven years, Pakistan could only complete three CPEC projects in Gwadar while one-dozen schemes costing nearly USD 2 billion remain unfinished including those of water supply and electricity.
CPEC remained dormant during most of the time of the previous Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government but lately, there had been some progress after the last political regime brought in Khalid Mansoor as special assistant to the PM on CPEC affairs. Yet, he could not take these schemes across the finishing line, reported The Express Tribune.
The big projects under the project were having problems raising the required funds and the completed projects were shut down, a media portal previously reported, adding that the government of Pakistan also abolished the CPEC authority, which was set up for smooth and rapid development.
Meanwhile, Chinese companies also stopped generating electricity in CPEC projects demanding payment of arrears. High-interest rates on CPEC loans, rising project costs, weak projects, and attacks on CPEC infrastructure are major issues in what has become a white elephant dream. (ANI)