Gearing up its entry into the coastal city of Gwadar, China has informed Pakistan about converting Rs 23 billion loan for the Gwadar International Airport into a grant and making loan of Rs 13.5 billion for the Gwadar East Bay Expressway free from any interest.
A top official source said the concessions were granted by China as she wanted to initiate work on both the major infrastructure projects by November this year to complete them by December 2017. These two major mega development projects are attributed as the catalyst for enhancing investment and development in Gwadar.
The new Gwadar airport will be a most modern airport of international standard to cater to the requirements of a bustling industrial commercial city. It will become a major hub for international flights operating in the region.
While the East Bay Expressway will facilitate the quick offloading of the ships and supplying goods for upcountry movement, an estimated 150,000 new jobs are estimated to be created in near future in the logistics sector alone due to the corridor project.
The federal government was already doing tendering process for these two projects but the pace was slow due to the required legal formalities. Since now China has taken up the responsibility for financing, things are expected to move at a much faster pace, the source said.
Chinese expect that after the completion of these two projects, investors will make a bee line for investment in Gwadar. The provincial government of Baluchistan is also working on the special economic zones and industrial parks in Gwadar. The city is expected to face a huge rush of people within the next three years due to the number of employment and business opportunities.
Pakistan plans to develop Gwadar as the major free port in the region. The government also plans to allay fears of competitors in the region and is considering taking UAE and Iranian governments on board about the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the source said.