The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be a ‘game changer’ for the economy of Pakistan not because of the volume of investment it was carrying but in terms of impact of the nature of the entailing project that would prove real turnaround for our national economy and hence to usher a new era of economic development and prosperity in the country. Dr. Saad S Khan, senior faculty member of the National School of Public Policy during a special lecture ‘Unpacking CPEC as a Game Changer’, held at Sustainable Development policy Institute (SDPI) here on Friday.
Dr. Saad S Khan while covering different dimensions of CPEC said that the project was one of the 6 corridors that China has envisaged to enhance its trade and investment around the world. Therefore, he said, the purpose of this project for China was to find affordable economic route to boost its exports from Xinjiang province and the investment of USD 46 billion thatthe project attracted was not offering a huge economic boost for Pakistan.
However, he said, CPEC involved 18 energy projects that mean these initiative would contribute significantly in redressing the energy crises of Pakistan. He said that basically it was the energy crises that has been responsible for failing the industry in Pakistan and hence, the situation of slow economic growth and joblessness in the country. Therefore, the energy that will be generated through this project would be proved actual game changer for the economy of Pakistan.
Dr. Saad S Khan opined that the presence of Chinese nationals in Pakistan would actually contribute in enriching the cultural diversity in Pakistan. Likewise, the presence of Chinese security forces alongside the CPEC projects would indirectly strengthen the law enforcing agencies in Pakistan to combat terrorism and militancy.
Dr. AbidQaiyumSuleri, Executive Director SDPI, on the occasion also covered various aspects of the CPEC and its overall socio-economic impacts for Pakistan. He said that the economic dividends of the project were depending on how these opportunities would get exploited and the level of preparedness that it required.
He said that CPEC could create an actual win-win situation for Pakistan if complimentary reforms including streamlining of tax and tariffs regime, trade facilitation and increasing the transparency of trade regulations would be introduced in a way that our local industry could not get left out of the process of development.
Dr. Abid said that provision of employment to local population in main project activities areas was crucial to redress resistance and resentment about the project that was being posed by various segments of society. Besides, government needed to work upon a better communication strategy so that people should know about real developments on the project instead of taking pre-conceived and pre-mature stance on various ongoing happenings, especially, the negotiation process with Chinese government on CPEC modalities on an ongoing basis.