Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Vision 2025 based on international connectivity, says interior minister


Staff Report

DECEMBER 13, 2017

KARACHI: Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal has said that Pakistan’s Vision 2025 is based on international connectivity and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has the potential to change the fate of round three billion people of the region.

He said that the CPEC was the game changer for Pakistan. We are now moving very fast and this is the demand of the time as no country can compete if it remains complacent, said Ahsan Iqbal while addressing the participants of the ‘CPEC Business Opportunities Conference and Exhibition’ on Tuesday.

“Around $35 billion has been earmarked for energy projects under the CPEC. The change is that earlier we were depending 70 percent on hydel power and then we moved on foreign fuels. Now the Thar coal is generating cheap power,” he added.

To promote cooperation in fields of thermal power, hydropower and new energy, Chinese enterprises have been engaged to invest in Pakistani energy projects and make optimal utilisation of the local resources, such as the Thar Coal mine etc. Investments have been made to remove the power bottleneck; reinforce the main grid structure and power transmission and distribution network, and improve power supply reliability. He said Pakistan will get more benefits as well by building industrial partnership. Pakistan has the potential to become tiger of the region.

“Pakistan can avail the opportunities by capturing more share of the job relocation which will take place in China and companies will move in other low cost labour countries there will be around 85 million jobs”, Ahsan Iqbal said.

Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of China, Zhao Li Lian elaborated the importance of one belt one road OBOR initiative. “Pakistan has more advantage in progress and projects are being completed in less time as compared to China. China took around 10 years to cope up with energy challenges while Pakistan needs only 5 years to overcome its energy crises. He said Pakistani companies will find more benefits in investing in China. CPEC will promote business in both the countries. He said China today is more developed country and presents unmatched facilities to Pakistani companies, its infrastructure, industrial parks, free trade zones, economic zones, industrial parks and good practice in companies are big features,” Zhao added.

He said China energy infrastructure development projects, which are mega power plants, will help Pakistan overcome load shedding. There are so many benefits for Pakistan through infrastructure development Pakistan will be linked with Central Asian roots, through building SEZs FDI will come that will mobilize better markets, jobs creation, better salaries for employees, strong foreign reserves and creation of industrial parks.

He said this development will help Pakistan manufacture higher quality products and increase exports. Pakistan is a good market for China as well, Pakistan enterprisers are more skilled, over 200 million population with around 65 per cent young people. Moreover, China is to loss labour cost advantage and Pakistani companies manufactured items will be used by Chinese companies.

Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui, Federal Secretary, Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms also shed light on CPEC and said We have to counter the notions against CPEC which are designed to malign this breakthrough achievement.

Dr Ishrat Hussain, former governor State Bank of Pakistan, said that those who think CPEC will only benefit china are wrong. It will help increase Pakistan GDP at least by 2 percent, it will also help the under developed district of Balochistan to witness drastic development. “SEZs will create enormous employment opportunities for our human resource. Right now, the most important thing for is for us to complete these projects on time without cost overruns”, he added.

Naheed Memon, Chairperson, Sindh Board of Investment also talked about the opportunities and said we are here to facilitate Chinese companies and welcome their investments in infrastructure, energy and development. They can also explore sectors as logistics, services, transport, food processing and assure full cooperation. She said Government to Government projects will meet the demand of Pakistan while industrial partnership will have greater impact on people lives. Chinese companies can also find venues in sectors of customer care and we have raw material for their businesses as well.

Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Minister Information Sindh reiterating Sindh government’s support for the projects of CPEC said Sindh will facilitate Chinese investors as well as local companies to invest in the province. He also welcomed and appreciated the efforts of companies who are working in materializing CPEC projects.

Published in Daily Times, December 13th 2017.

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