CPEC to bring new wave of de­vel­op­ment: Ah­san ‘Pak­istan to be part of 25 ma­jor economies of world by 2025’

Pakistan Observer - - ECONOMY WATCH - STAFF RE­PORTER

Cur­rency Sell­ing Buy­ing FAISALABAD—Fed­eral Min­is­ter for Plan­ning De­vel­op­ment and Re­form Ah­san Iqbal on Mon­day said that busi­ness com­mu­nity should play a proac­tive role to es­tab­lish spe­cial CPEC Cells in var­i­ous cham­bers to fully ex­ploit the op­por­tu­ni­ties to bring Pak­istan into 25 ma­jor economies of the world by 2025. Ad­dress­ing the busi­ness com­mu­nity of Faisalabad, he said that when PML-N govern­ment came into power, the un­em­ploy­ment was at the high­est level in the coun­try, work­ers as well as in­dus­tri­al­ists were on roads, for­eign ex­change re­serves were dwin­dling to 10 bil­lion dol­lars.

“Be­sides all th­ese prob­lems the govern­ment man­aged to bring qual­i­ta­tive change and now within a short span of three years, our econ­omy is at a take­off po­si­tion”, he added. He said that Prime Min­is­ter dur­ing his first visit to China on July 5, 2013 signed a Me­moran­dum of Un­der­stand­ings (MoU) for CPEC (China Pak­istan Eco­nomic Cor­ri­dor) and the MoU has now be­come a huge port­fo­lio of 46 bil­lion dol­lars and all international think tanks were dis­cussing its im­pacts on Pak­istan and re­gional coun­tries. He said that CPEC would bring a new wave of de­vel­op­ment, progress and pros­per­ity and par­tic­u­larly the busi­ness com­mu­nity should pre­pare it­self to fully en-cash its ben­e­fits.

The min­is­ter said that load­ing shed­ding has re­duced from 18 hours to 6-8 hours. Sim­i­larly LNG ter­mi­nal has been com­pleted within a record pe­riod of 11 months. Our for­eign ex­change re­serves have also jumped to 21.6 bil­lion dol­lars. Our growth rate is 4.7 per cent, which was high­est in the last 8 years. He said that our GDP tar­get in next year is 5.7 per cent and the in­cen­tive of­fered to in­dus­try and agri­cul­ture sec­tors would cer­tainly help us to achieve this tar­get.

How­ever, we have to take our GDP to 6 per cent by 2018 to achieve the re­quired GDP tar­get. Ah­san Iqbal said that world economists were terming Pak­istan as one of the fastest grow­ing econ­omy but we have to con­cen­trate to at­tract for­eign in­vest­ment and to achieve it po­lit­i­cal sta­bil­ity, se­cu­rity, sound eco­nomic poli­cies and re­li­able in­fra­struc­ture were es­sen­tial el­e­ments. He said that dur­ing last 15 years no ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture project has been un­der­taken. Our crit­ics were now re­al­iz­ing that with­out in­fra­struc­ture we can­not give quan­tum jump to our econ­omy.

He said that 35 bil­lion dol­lars have been al­lo­cated for en­ergy re­lated projects in CPEC. “We have coal re­serves in Thar from which we could gen­er­ate 5000 megawatt elec­tric­ity an­nu­ally for at least 400 years”, he added. He fur­ther said that work on Lawari Tun­nel has started. Pak­istan Rail­way was ignored by pre­vi­ous gov­ern­ments but we have al­lo­cated hefty money for it dur­ing last and cur­rent year bud­get. Re­spond­ing to a ques­tion about di­rect ben­e­fits of CPEC to Faisalabad, he said that Faisalabad is one of the main load cen­tres of elec­tric­ity and cer­tainly it will get max­i­mum ben­e­fits from the new en­ergy projects com­pleted un­der CPEC. Con­tin­u­ing, he said that af­ter com­ple­tion of ma­jor in­fra­struc­ture projects, eco­nomic zones would be es­tab­lished in var­i­ous parts of the coun­try and our pri­vate sec­tor has to work on it by search­ing po­ten­tial part­ners for joint ven­tures.

ISLAMABAD: Diplo­mats from Thai­land, Nepal, Por­tu­gal, Ro­ma­nia and waives of var­i­ous en­voys with CEO and Group Di­rec­tor Sar­dar Group of Com­pa­nies (The Cen­tau­rus) Sar­dar Yasir Iyas Khan and other se­nior man­age­ment mem­bers dur­ing their visit to the Cen­tau­rus.

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