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Event Title: Senate sub-Committee on Maritime Affairs Calls to Expedite Work on Gwadar Port and Facilitate Investors

Event Date: 2019-09-20

The sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs in its meeting on Friday reviewed, in detail, various issues pertaining to Gwadar Port and its investors.  Mr. Zang Baozhong, Chairman, China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), briefed the Committee about the issues faced in developing the Port and said that the company has given a grant USD 1.2 billion for upliftment of the area on the Port and wishes to see Pakistan grow. 

 

Chairman Committee, Senator Kauda Babar appreciated the interest of Chinese investors in the region and promised all-out support to them.  He said that the Committee would ensure that all issues are resolved at the earliest.  The issues that pertained to COPHC pertained to 23 year tax holiday, announced by the government which was not being awarded to the company, Fibre Optic connectivity for which PTCL demanded PKR 14 Million, transhipment and transit trade. 

 

Taking up the issue of Internet connectivity with PTCL, the Committee, showed concern regarding their demand and said that this must be reviewed rigorously.  To discuss this issue in greater detail, Secretary Ministry of Information Technology has been summoned in the next meeting alongwith senior officers from PTCL.  The Ministry of Maritme Affairs, assured the Committee that it is vigorously pursuing this case. 

 

While discussing the establishment of the Transit Trade Directorate at Gwadar Port, the Committee was informed that in order to deal with the issue, meetings with the Ministry of Commerce and FBR are being held.  Gwadar Port is equipped with the facilities that are required to handle variety of shipments. WeBOC transit trade module has been rolled out in Gwadar by PRAL and a User Acceptance Test (UAT) will be carried out.  Negotiations are being carried out by bonded careers such NLC and Pak-Afghan Cargo Services.  A Special Incentives Package has been offered to Afghan Transit Traders. Ministry of Commerce informed the Committee that it is working on a system to 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 wish to use Gwadar Port must be facilitated. 

 

While discussing Tax exemptions pertaining to Gwadar Port and GFZ, the Committee was informed that the matter is under review at the Ministry of Law and Justice for its recommendations. 

 

Reviewing progress of 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 the 15th October, 2019, after which the Committee would visit the site.  The Ministry of Commerce FBR, Custom Directorate were directed to brief the Committee regarding the existing rules and regulations pertaining to develop  a zone at the port where Chinese Trawlers could store fish caught in International waters for export.  A detailed report has been requisitioned in the next meeting. 

 

Convened by Senator Kauda Babar, 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.