Gwadar: The government approved the New Gwadar International Airport project on Monday at a revised cost of Rs. 51.3 billion, representing a 138 percent rise in the project’s construction costs in just five years, despite poor progress on a key China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) programme.
The project cost was revised increased by the Central Development Working Party (CDWP). The CDWP meeting was headed by Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Jehanzeb Khan. The body’s mandate is to examine and approve development proposals, as well as to refer megaprojects to the National Economic Council’s Executive Committee (ECNEC) for ultimate approval.
The CDWP approved the Gwadar airport as an ongoing project, with the instructions to “evaluate PSDP standards in light of the country’s limited development portfolio and prospective earnings.”
Out of the Rs. 51.3 billion, Rs. 18.1 billion is expected to come from the Public Sector Development Programmer, with the rest Rs. 33.8 billion coming from China. The project will receive a grant of 1.52 billion yuan (Rs. 34 billion) from China. Oman also contributed $17.5 million to the project.
The project was part of CPEC’s first phase, which was expected to be finished by 2018. The Planning Commission deputy chairman also directed that combined electricity generation from solar and wind should be explored to meet the future needs for Gwadar Airport.
The new Gwadar airport is considered important for the development of Gwadar Port and its free zone. The Ministry of Planning is now gradually taking back control of CPEC.