We need to take full advantage of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). We cannot reap full fruit of this game changer unless and until strategy for both opportunities and challenges, posed by this mega project, is not evolved.
This was upshot of the speeches delivered by various experts at a discussion on “CPEC Challenges and Opportunities” here at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry. CEO, Gallup Pakistan Dr. Aijaz Shafi Gilani, the LCCI President Abdul Basit, Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Vice President Muhammad Nasir Hameed Khan, Malik Tahir Javed, Mujib-ur-Rehman Shami, Hafiz Ullah Khan Niazi, Syed Mahmood Ghaznavi, Raja Adeel Ashfaq, Maqsood Butt, Mian Muhammad Nawaz, Muhammad Anwar and given their point of view.
Chief Executive Officer of Gallup Pakistan Dr. Aijaz Shafi Gilani said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) should be beneficial for all by all means. For that purpose, pros and cons should be monitored and handled carefully. He said that some circles have reservations about this project and one of them is that Pakistan’s relations with western world be isolated. This aspect required special focus of the policy makers as Pakistan cannot afford below the level relations with those countries that have remained significant for us for aid and trade. He said that in 2008, Pakistan trade with China was 11 percent of its total trade with China that has risen to 29 percent in 2015. He said that not only Pakistan should continue market diversification but trade with China should also be balanced.
The LCCI President Abdul Basit said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor is being proved a game changer in true sense of words as it is gaining the attention of entire world. He said that it would bring a revolution in physical infrastructure, energy and human resources. He said that CPEC would also help Pakistan in technological advancement and with a great infrastructure it would improve connectivity system.
Abdul Basit said that local manufacturers should be encouraged to invest in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Projects. He said that said that projects like CPEC had the capacity to stimulate the local economy by increasing the demand for locally-manufactured goods. Such increase in demand will not only allow full utilization of the existing manufacturing potential, but will also encourage the manufacturers to increase their capacity. It will generate much needed employment opportunities, and will also contribute a sizeable amount of revenue to the national exchequer.
The experts said that success of China Pakistan Economic Corridor and its economic goals cannot be achieved without the fullest participation of the private sector in both countries. They said that Pakistani businessmen should be encouraged and helped to interact closely with Chinese companies. They said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor has already become the target of an economic war therefore all possible measures should be taken for its protection.
They said that along with CPEC, Pakistan needs to make its trade and economic relations better with the outer world. They said that new and non-traditional markets should also be focused for Pakistani merchandise to power the national economy.