The sub-Committee of the Senate Standing Committee on Maritime Affairs in its meeting on Tuesday at Parliament House reviewed, in detail, various issues pertaining to Gwadar Port and its investors. It was disclosed the Port has been opened for Transit Trade and the first ship is due next Tuesday.
Convened by Senator Kauda Babar, the meeting was attended by Senator Moula Bux Chandio, Senator Muhammad Akram and senior officers from the Ministry of Maritime Affairs, Information Technology and Telecommunications, Gwadar Port Authority FBR, PTCL along with all concerned.
Discussing progress on recommendations of the sub-Committee meeting held on 20 September, 2019; a compliance report was submitted. Probing the matter of internet connectivity and quotation of PKR 14 million issued by PTCL for works relating to Optic Fibre connection and installation the Committee was informed that PTCL has now agreed for the said setup. The matter is being handled by PTCL and COPHC. The Committee was of the view that distance from the gate to the pole was maximum 3 Km as opposed to 6.4 Km that have been quoted. Charges are therefore exaggerated. The Committee was informed that right of way charges would apply and local administration would have to be consulted for this.
Regarding WeBOC system installation, FBR was of the view that Fibre Optics connection would expedite work, which is much faster compared to the currently available radio connection. Briefing the Committee, regarding Transit trade and transhipment, the Committee was informed that the Afghan Trade Transit Module required some changes that have been applied and after initial testing it is ready for application. It was disclosed that Gwadar’s Main competitors would be Singapore and Dubai ports, since incentives such as no cargo demurrage charges and three months storage facility would surely divert business to Gwadar. Concerning storage facilities for fish processing within or outside the port, the Committee was assured that Chinese Companies would not be charged extra taxes.
While discussing legal framework /rules/regulations pertaining to fish dumping and reprocessing facilities at Gwadar Port to local/foreign investors and Chinese Companies; Convener Senator Kauda Babar was of the view that a Resolution must be passed to employ local population for jobs at the facility. The Committee was informed that issues such as absence of monitoring and control services have created huge hurdles. The Committee directed that all efforts must be made to pursue and resolve this issue at the earliest. The Committee recommended that trawling and policing issues must be discussed in detail and a uniform mechanism be formulated for all provinces. Reviewing Eastbay Expressway Project at Gwadar the Committee was informed that a revised PC-1is being submitted to ECNEC for approval