CPEC projects hit wall as Pak highway body faces financial crisis
Islamabad, July 23: The much-talked about China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) worth $52 billion faced threat as many of its road projects hit a wall, thanks to financial crisis in Pakistan's National Highway Authority (NHA), the country's major daily Dawn reported.
Citing sources, the daily said the contractors ceased work on many CPEC projects after their cheques worth over Pakistani Rupees 5 billion couldn't be encashed because of funds shortage.
The report also said that it is not the first time that projects of the CPEC, an integral part of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which is seen as a game-changer in world economy, have hit financial hurdles.
The sources also added that seven packages of the Hakla-Dera Islmail Khan motorway measuring 400 kilometres of roads connecting North and South Pakistan besides all projects of Karachi-Lahore Motorway have been affected because of the crisis, the Dawn report said.
Besides the CPEC projects, the crisis has also hit the local construction industries besides the workforce including engineers and labourers.
NHA authorities said they issued cheques worth Pakistani Rupees 5 billion on June 29 to the firms against the government sanctions and while those amounting Rs 1.5 billion were cleared on the same day, the rest could not be, the Dawn report added.
The NHA said the matter had been taken up with the government and that it would not affect the CPEC projects' progress, the Dawn said, also citing other sources to say that the projects of the highly publicised initiative will be delayed further if the financial crisis is not sorted out soon.