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PM witnesses MoU on $3.48b C-5 nuclear power project


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Pakistan and China for a 1200 MW Chashma-5 (C-5) nuclear power project worth of $3.48 billion here.

President of China National Nuclear Corporation Overseas Ltd (CNOS) and Member Power, Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) Muhammad Saeed Ur Rehman signed the MoU.

Speaking on the occasion, Shehbaz Sharif said the nuclear power project was a great step forward towards economic cooperation between the two countries.

The prime minister said decision to start this project had been taken and main conditions were agreed during previous government of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif but the successive government put this project in the cold storage.

He said keeping view the higher international inflation, the project cost would have been much higher than that determined in 2017-18 but the Chinese governemnt not only obstained from raising the cost according to the inflation but also gave a discount of around Rs 30 billion.

Vowing to kick start the project without delay, the prime minister said under the difficult economic situation, investment from China in this project to the tune of $3.48 billion sent a clear message that Pakistan was a place where Chinese companies and investors continued to show their trust and faith.

“This reflects the famous quote that our friendship is higher than Himalayas, deeper than the deepest ocean, sweeter than sugar and honey, and stronger than iron and steel. He said President Xi Jinping had called this friendship as iron brothers.

He said recently he also inaugurated K-3 nuclear project in Karachi.

He said owing to the economic challenges, Pakistan was engaged with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) trying to finalize the 9th review. “Pakistan has met all conditions required by the IMF that has been done three months ago, but there has been inordinate delay”, he said adding that China once again had come to Pakistan’s rescue.

Other than China, he said Pakistan had also great friends such as Saudi Arabia, UAE and Qatar that had been and still supporting the country. However, he said at this critical juncture, Chinese support was outstanding. “We are deeply obliged to President Xi, Chinese leadership, sincere thanks to the Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and his team for working hard to strike the agreement with the Chinese counterpart.”

He also thanked Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Power Minister Khurram Dastgir who worked diligently in this regard.

Especially, he thanked the new military leadership for taking interest in this project. This is a beautiful combination that all political parties and military leadership are on one page,” he added.

He also paid tribute the Nawaz Sharif who, for the first time in 1993 made agreement with China for a nuclear power project.

PM Shehbaz said during last few months, China also renewed commercial and sovereign loans which reflected unparallel friendship between the two countries.

Federal Minister for Finance Senator Ishaq Dar, Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal, and Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir, Pang Chunxue chargée d’affaires China, and Shen Yanfeng, Vice President of China National Nuclear Corporation were also present on the occasion.

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