Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar on Thursday said that regional connectivity through road, rail and maritime routes, would increase the trade and economic integration between South Asia, Middle East, and Central Asia (SAMECA).
He said Pakistan was now working on internal connectivity through road and rail link for providing the connectivity between the far city of Peshawar to coastal city Karachi, which would lead to improving the regional connectivity as well.
Makhdum Khusro Bakhtiar was addressing the Margalla Dialogue-19 on Peace and Development in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia (SAMECA) here. Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, President IPRI and foreign delegates were also present.
Khusro Bakhtiar noted that the region’s trade potential was vast and Pakistan could play an important role for promotion of trade linkages between Central Asia and South Asia.
The Minister said that Pakistan was focusing on promoting cooperation in energy sector at regional level. He said that Pakistan was heading towards industrial development, noting that other countries were heavily investing in E-commerce and digital economy, therefore Pakistan should also pay attention towards this end. He underscored that Pakistan should also invest in research and development and promote other modern sectors on the pattern of China. Talking about China Pakistan Economic Corridors, the Minister said that under CPEC framework, other countries can become partners and make investments to the mutual benefit of all.
He said that the present government has expedited the pace and implementation of CPEC projects and hurdles related to CPEC projects had largely been removed. The Minister called for initiating joint ventures with the private sector for sustained economic growth. He highlighted that a B2B forum has been formulated between the investors of Pakistan and China for the mutual benefit of both countries.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh has described development of human skills, working in partnerships and allowing the private sector to work at its full potential as the three key drivers of development and prosperity for any country or nation.
Hafeez Shaikh was delivering a keynote address to a well-attended session on ‘Prospects of Economic Integration in SAMECA: Exploring New Vistas of Cooperation’, arranged by the Islamabad Policy Research Institute (IPRI). The seminar was part of two-day ‘Margalla Dialogue: Peace and Development in South Asia, Middle East, Central Asia (SAMECA).
The big lesson of development history is the model presented by countries like Japan, Singapore and Scandinavia which focused on skill enhancement, technical capability and work ethics of their people,” he said. Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh said that it was essential for countries and the governments to keep their people and the development of their skill-sets and capability as focus of their efforts.
He also pointed out that no country achieved development and prosperity alone and the only way to bring prosperity to our people was to find a way to sell our products to others and to ensure that others partnered with us.
“This is the focal lesson of development as no country in the history has brought prosperity to its people alone, especially without its neighbours,” he said, citing the example of Chinese leadership which understood this lesson and brought 700 million of its people out of poverty.
The Adviser underlined the role of private sector as being the key driver in prosperity by saying that the only way to bring prosperity was to allow the private sector to perform unregulated as job of bureaucrats and government ministers was to formulate policies and act like facilitators while real action was performed by private sector people who could drive and accelerate the pace of development and progress.