Amid the ongoing speculations over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has admitted that the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic impeded the progress of the CPEC projects in the country.
Speaking at the launch of the new project from Matiari in Sindh to Lahore, Khan promised to speed up the pace of work on the CPEC projects, The News International reported.
Beijing is much concerned about the CPEC, which is the centrepiece of the BRI. The sluggish pace of work, frequent terror attacks, and incidences of corruption have slowed it down.
Earlier this month, a Pakistan Senate panel had expressed concern over the slow pace of development on the CPEC and dissatisfaction being expressed by Chinese companies, Dawn reported.
Amid the controversy surrounding the CPEC projects, a new report on Wednesday revealed that a major portion of Chinese financing under the CPEC consists of loans that are at or near commercial rates as opposed to grants.
The findings are part of a report published by AidData, an international development research lab based at the College of William and Mary in Virginia.
The report said Chinese loans under CPEC constitute 95.2 per cent and 73 per cent of total commitments in energy and transport sectors, Dawn newspaper added. According to the Pakistan daily, China has committed USD 34.4 billion in development finance to Pakistan between 2000-2017.
China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has left scores of lower- and middle-income countries (LMIC) saddled with "hidden debts" totalling USD 385 billion.
China has used debt rather than aid to establish a dominant position in the international development finance market, according to this report.