Home Views & Opinions COVID-19 and its impact on Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC

COVID-19 and its impact on Belt and Road Initiative and CPEC

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Nowadays, COVID-19 is increasing rapidly in Pakistan. As of June 30 the amount of confirmed cases had risen to 208359 along with 4254 deaths.Tremendously a very bad situation of Pakistan economy as well as global economy due to this pandemic era.Coronavirus effects many business and major flagship project in Pakistan like CPEC development due to shortage of local labour. The China-Pakistan Economic (CPEC) is a part of ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) which runs through South-East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia, Russia and Europe by land as well as 21st century Maritime Silk Road, a sea route flanked by China’s coastal regions with South-East and South Asia, the South Pacific, the Middle East and Eastern Africa, all the way to Europe.
The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor badly affectsand now most of the people concerned about CPEC development and its impact of COVID-19 on development projects. Specifically the CPEC development were also stopped because of the absence of local labour who were forced to stay at home due to lockdown and to avoid further spread of COVID-19. In addition, the Government of Pakistan and China also announced the travel restrictions which delayed the availability of workforce. All business areas and business centers in the port of Gwadar are completely closed, and the impact of all these problems on CPEC and its branches. But there is encouraging news that the port of Gwadar is still operating under strict policies.
COVID-19 has already had a significant impact on the global economy, influencing production, supply chains and the movement of people and goods. Since the outbreak and increasing the cases of corona virus, many people concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on CPEC development projects. Most of the people say it has no impact but some people says it has huge impact on development of CPEC. As per my opinion it has a huge Impact on CPEC development. According to the challenging situation Chinese government decided to work again on BRI projects. Chinese government believes that once the pandemic crisis is over BRI projects will lead the world economy recovery and sustainable development.
As our Prime Minister Imran Khan said multiple times that coronavirus is not going anywhere, we have to live with this epidemic situation following SOP otherwise survival in Pakistan is much difficult as compared to developing and developed countries. If all factories, industries, and development teams closed for certain time, Pakistan economy will go down for sure and people will die due to hunger and unemployment.
Consequently, the Pakistan Government is in full consultation with the Government of China as well as Chinese companies working on the CPEC projects. In this regard, Pakistan government is taking preventive measures and providing full protection to Chinese workforce on CPEC. In addition, the Chinese workers who are returning to Pakistan have to endure double quarantine system for their safety as well as the safety of other workers too.
Contemporaneous, we must be aware of the fact that there is a force in the world that does not want to see CPEC’s success, so they indiscriminatelyamplify the impact of the pandemic on CPEC development. The Chinese and Pakistan government both nations agreed to continue this project and overcome difficulties caused by COVID-19 and support CPEC construction.Both governments have upheld close communication and coordination on particular issues of CPEC projects.Chinese companies have implemented closed management, and all CPEC projects have maintain prevention and control plans and implemented them very strictly, therefore effectively preventing the invasion of the novel coronavirus. As far as I know, there is no COVID-19 spread at the construction or development sites.
In addition, the Chinese companiescontributing in the construction of CPEC projects are also actively making assistances to the prevention and control of the pandemic in several locations in Pakistan, donating material to local government’s offices, schools, and hospitals.When the world was suffering from coronavirus, China was there for supplying material and help to various nations in the form of medical equipment, protection accessories and medical supplies. It’s a bit challenging circumstances in China in pandemic situation but China proves his kindness in front of other nations that increased the trust of countries in China.
It is still unclear situation when local and global economic activities become stable, which also creates uncertainty about the feasibility of these projects. In the same way, other cross-border corridors and the Silk Road Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) are also facing delays and cancellations. Despite difficult circumstances, the Chinese are promoting BRI, gradually resuming development work and building the health Silk Road. Beijing, China is much confident that BRI will lead the global economic recovery after resolving the crisis.
The most common broader issue nowadays is whether the planned BRI projects can be delay in the current economic environment. For instance, it was recently stated that nearly seven to eight years after the creation of CPEC, less than one-third of the development projects had been completed. Since sustainability of financing for BRI projects is already a challenge, and Chinese capital projected to be organized to meet the basic and domestic needs,the pandemic and the resulting slowdown in economic growth will be even more delayed and could even be a death sentence for some Belt and Road Initiative projects as well as CPEC.