Finance Minister Ishaq Dar said on Monday that China has chosen the right time for investment in Pakistan because it is ready to take off in the direction of high growth after overcoming the economic challenges.
Speaking at the concluding session of China Pakistan Economic Summit and Expo organized by Ministry of Planning, Development and Reforms here on Monday, Finance Minister stated “economic challenges of the country are over “.
He said that Pakistan was on the verge of default in 2013 with foreign exchange reserves at the lowest level, the worst load-shedding and law and order situation.
Finance Minister maintained that structural reforms during the last three years have changed the country and the world is ready to do business with Pakistan.
Dar stated that the CPEC is going to benefit all the regions of Pakistan and “if we work together this project can put the country on a higher economic growth path, create employment opportunities and will have a positive socio economic impact in the less developed areas”.
The minister said 4.7 percent growth is not adequate and Pakistan will have 6-7 percent growth in 2018-19 after availability of the energy being undertaken under the CPEC.
The Minister added that China is helping Pakistan against the energy challenges and is making $35 billion investment in energy project under the CPEC.
The Finance Minister also criticized previous PPP-led coalition government for failing to undertake 10,000MW energy projects. The country experienced load-shedding of 16-18 hours in 2013, he added.
He said that 10,000MW energy projects with two major projects of CPEC- Port Qasim and Sahiwal are in progress and would be completed by next year and there would be no load shedding by the end of the present government’s tenure.
The Finance Minister stated as this is age of global connectivity, Pakistan is undertaking various projects including CPEC for regional connectivity.
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Sindh, Gilgit-Baltistan Chief Ministers and AJK Prime Minister also stated that they would align their development projects to take maximum benefits from the game changer CPEC project.
Chief Minister of KP also urged investors to make investment in various sectors and stated that the provincial government would facilitate them.
Sindh Chief Minister stated that a CPEC strategic cell has been established for better coordination with federal government and China on various issues regarding the CPEC and decided to set up a force with 2000 retired army men for safety and security of Chinese people working on CPEC projects in the province.
Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Ahsan Iqbal stated that CPEC is based on four pillars – infrastructure, energy, Gwadar and industrial zones – and energy projects would be completed in two years to be followed by industrial projects.
He added that ultimate goal of the CPEC is to develop industrial linkages between China and Pakistan in competitive advantages fields, etc.
He said that industrial sector was higher on the agenda and provincial governments on the request of federal government have identified sites for industrial parks for relocation and establishment of industrial units.
In response to a question of traffic flow, the session was informed that according to conservative estimates 2000 to 22000 trucks will be passing through the CPEC to Gwadar.
After the conclusion of first session Advisor to Prime Minister on Foreign Affairs, Sartaj Aziz said the CPEC is a flagship project and its completion would effect economic transformation.
He said that the project would benefit both the countries as it can put Pakistan on higher economic growth and provide shortest transportation route to some areas of China.
Aziz also spoke of risks and challenges for the CPEC and stated there is a need for preparation of contingency plans against them after their careful consideration.
Advisor to Prime Minister stated “as South Asia is the most underdeveloped region on the globe, it offers potential opportunities and 21st century is South Asia’s century,” he added. -Business Recorder