Pakistan and China have agreed to give priority to the development projects of housing, industrial cooperation and oil and gas sector projects under the second phase of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan chaired a videoconference of Joint Working Group (JWG) on Planning with Deputy Director General NDRC Gao Jian here at Islamabad on Friday. Additional Secretary/Project Director CPEC Waqar-ul-Hasan and senior officials from both sides were also present.
The secretary planning said that provision of affordable housing is the top priority of the incumbent government. He said that in this regard Naya Pakistan Housing and Development Authority has been established to fast-track the housing projects and leverage the supply-demand gap in the country.
He said that oil and gas is another sector where enhanced focus is required. He said that both the sides agreed that interventions in this sector can be taken up following the finalisation of oil and gas development plan for Pakistan which is at an advanced stage of completion.
Zafar Hasan noted that Prime Minister Imran Khan during his recent visit to China suggested enhancing fisheries trade between the two countries. He said, “We can enhance the cooperation in establishing fish meal factories, vessels monitoring system and fishing traceability to prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.”
Deputy Director General National Development & Reform Commission (NDRC) Gao Jian agreed to continue exchange programmes pertaining to training of fishermen. The Chinese side agreed to continue supporting Pakistan in technical and vocational training to develop a skilled manpower including upgrading vocational training institutes, vocational training exchanges, and capacity building of trainers.
The secretary planning said that Pakistan and China need to encourage people-to-people contacts, cultural exchange programmes and promotion of tourism.
He said that that the CPEC is progressing satisfactorily and a lot of challenges related to it have been addressed. He said, “Under the Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision, we should deepen the people-to-people contacts, cultural exchange programmes, promote tourism and mutual visits from both the sides.”
Zafar Hasan apprised that the long-term plan entails promotion of cross-border and coastal tourism. He said that both the countries should work together to promote tourism.