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Broader participation in CPEC to boost economic activity - Inside Financial Markets

Broader participation in CPEC to boost economic activity

-Associated Press of Pakistan

With the smooth sailing of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project, Pakistan is foreseeing massive economic activity during days ahead. An appreciable outcome of a novel Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of the Chinese government, Pakistan becomes the key player in the regional economic activity.

This project would not only earn billions of dollars revenue through trade but also generate thousands of jobs for the local people besides infrastructure development, power generation and projects in transportation, railways, agriculture, science and technology and tourism sectors.

One key outcome of the CPEC is the construction of Special Economic Zones under construction across the country through Pak-China joint venture. Keeping in view the importance of the project, number of other countries had also been showing interest off and on, to invest in the project.

The economic activity in the country is gaining momentum after the commencement of second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) that largely consists of industrial cooperation.Video Player00:0001:58

Although the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) planned under the umbrella of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are basically meant to relocate Chinese industry and investment but both the countries have already offered third party participation in the mega project.

The countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Middle Eastern states and some Western countries have already showed interest to invest specially in the Industrial zones.

The third party involvement in CPEC is win-win for all as the participation would help the foreign companies to flourish their business by availing the lucrative facilities offered by the Pakistan government besides enabling Pakistan to boost its exports to the potential world market. Chinese authorities have also acknowledged the importance of broader participation in CPEC and SEZs.

Apart from Gwadar Free Zone, a total of nine SEZs are planned under CPEC, including the four priority SEZs in Sindh, Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa: Dhabeji SEZ, Allama Iqbal Industrial City, Rashakai Economic Zone, and Bostan SEZ in Balochistan.

The CPEC is aimed at bringing the country among world’s top economies besides stabilizing Pakistan’s international status at political, economic and socially fronts. To achieve this aim, all government departments both from federal and provinces are busy
under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minsiter Imran Khan.

Under the $60 billion CPEC project, various projects worth of $53 billion have already been identified and 17 projects worth $25 billion have been completed under the Corridor. While 19 projects are under construction and 28 more projects including the historic ML-1 railway project are at various stages of planning and approval.

In these projects, three-fourth amount consist of Chinese investment which negates the international propaganda of the Chinese debt trap.Video Player00:0002:18

Parliamentary Secretary for Planning Kanwal Shauzab told APP that four out of nine SEZs identified under CPEC in various areas of the country are under progress.

“Specialized economic activities started at SEZs will help strengthen overall economy situation in the country besides raising millions of direct and indirect employment opportunities especially for those living along the CPEC route”, she added. “Our Chinese counterparts are helping us a lot in the industrial development but the local people are also working side by side for country’s progress under CPEC.”

The Parliamentary Secretary pointed out five elements under CPEC which would have direct or indirect positive impact on the people’s lives including connectivity, energy projects, socio-economic development like Prime Minister’s clean and green project.

She also welcomed the third party involvement saying if Saudi Arabia, US and other Western countries invest in the SEZs, it would prove as a game changer for the whole regions and beyond.

She informed Qatar had also been invited and the country can opt for a short route of CPEC to supply Liquefied Natural Gas to various countries instead of taking a longer route.Video Player00:0001:26

Chairman Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Capital office, Qurban Ali said CPEC is a game changer for Pakistan. The broader activity at the SEZs with the participation of more countries would further boost economic activity at these Zones.

“If companies from Saudi Arabia, United States and other Western Countries invest in Pakistan’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs), the CPEC would further strengthen and would be a win-win for all,” he said.

Gwadar port city has the potential to surpass the international port cities such as Dubai as it can be inter linked with the whole region including Iran, Turkey and Middle Easter countries on one side and Afghanistan, China, Central Asian states and beyond to the Europe on the other side, he added.

He pointed out that the CPEC could be linked with Wakhan Corridor that was a 76-kilometre-long boundary and a corridor for access to not only Afghanistan but also the Central Asian states. “We need to fully benefit from this shorter route to reach out to Central Asian Republics.”

“The facilities offered by the government for industrialists investing in the SEZs under CPEC are very lucrative and now not only the local but the foreign industrialists were also showing willingness to invest in Allama Iqbal Industrial Park Faisalabad, Rashakai and other SEZs,” he added.

He said being the gateway to CPEC, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) is of extreme importance and there is need to focus this region for industrial development and well being of the people.

“The government has allocated a land for Moqpondass SEZ in GB and there is need for developing an Economic Zone at the site on priority so the people in that region also benefit from overall development process in the country.”

Since numbers of projects are already under development through CPEC, the time has come to further expedite the development work so the masses may be able to reap the benefit of this mega effort as early as possible.

Importance of the CPEC projects has also increased manifold in view of the price hike and global economic recession due to Covid-19. With rapid implementation of the CPEC projects, the situation would turn around and bring relief to masses lives in terms of cheaper commodities and employment generation.

Syed Zaki Hussain

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