Pakistan destined to become centre of Asian trade, business activities due to CPEC: Ahsan

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New middle class market emerging in Pakistan

Salim Ahmed

Lahore

Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal Saturday said that Gwadar Port has become a state-of-the-art business centre and Pakistan is destined to become centre of Asian trade and business activities due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Speaking at the ‘CPEC: Think and Grow Summit’ hosted by University of Management and Technology Lahore in collaboration with Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre, and Centre of Excellence China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, here today, Ahsan maintained that there would be Maritime Trade and state-of-the art business centres in Gwadar Port and Balochistan would be developed as a smart city like Hong Kong.
“The Maritime Trade Centre would be for the whole region apart from China,” he said, adding: “There would be benefit for Kashger from this port.” Ahsan said the country is destined to achieve progress and prosperity but to achieve this goal, political stability, hard work and commitment are needed. He said the CPEC is going to provide enormous opportunities to Pakistani youth. He also said the country cannot afford any political instability rather there is need of ‘economic long march’ instead of political long march. He regretted that some elements are spreading negative propaganda due to their vested interests.
Ahsan said that the CPEC is the most important project which has also raised positive image of the country in the world. “Chinese relations are not only at official levels but these are also on business and people to people level which are strengthening and playing key role in national economy.
The federal minister said the PML-N government worked devotedly and overcome electricity. “The country’s economy is moving forward and growth rate is set to touched 6% mark. He said the country’s exports increased due to better fiscal policies.
Had the PML-N government was allowed to work freely, there would be much more projects aimed at public welfare, he said.
Ahsan said that CPEC would be completed in three phases till 2030. In first phase of CPEC, energy and physical infrastructure would be developed by 2020 in the country. The roadmap for the formation of a National Internal Security Policy (NISP) is centred on goals defined in vision 2025 which envisage sharing peace, stability and development; the key to progress.
The minister said investors from Europe, Middle East and other parts of World would start business in Pakistan which was a proof of positive impact of CPEC on their economy.
Ahsan Iqbal said a new middle class market was emerging in Pakistan as the country would achieve the gross domestic product (GDP) target of six percent. He hoped that the value of Pakistani rupee is likely to increase due to the investments in CPEC and vice versa.
Abid HK Shirwani, Director General UMT, Engr. Sarfraz Ahmed, Director General, Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre, Lahore, Dr.Shahid Rashid, Executive Director, Centre of Excellence-China Pakistan Economic Corridor, Islamabad, Dr. Hassnain Javed, Advisor, Master Trainer, Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Center, Dr. Zahir Shah, Advisor Infrastructural Development, Planning and Development Department, Government of the Punjab, Ali Raza Hanjara, DG, Revenue FBR also expressed their views in the summit.
The speakers called for actively engaging Pakistani workforce especially young graduates of universities in the mega project of CPEC in order to provide them first-hand knowledge, experience and the engineering being applied by Chinese experts in the project.
They said the CPEC is a generation project that will make their future secure and economically stronger. They said once the project is fully functional in 2030, many new direct foreign investments in key areas are likely to pour into Pakistan resulting into greater opportunities for both the countries.
Addressing the summit, Chairman UMT Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad said CPEC is all about the positive change in the economy offering tremendous opportunities to avail them and prosper likewise. He said CPEC is a beacon of hope for the universities that could employ their graduates because as many as 500,000 to 800,000 new jobs would be created.
He said the current business models needed to be replaced with new and innovative ones in order to oversimplify the business culture and attract more locals to take risk of investing in every sector and laying down the foundation of powerful economy.
Dr. Cui Yong and Dr. Dragana Ostic from Jiangsu University China gave presentations related to CPEC and its importance.
The summit discussed many themes all related to CPEC. They were: Impact of CPEC on unemployment and inflation, energy projects, heavy investments in coal powered projects, CPEC impact on environment, logistics and transportation opportunities and challenges, national agriculture and food security action plan, regional trade, joint ventures, alliances, and industrial cooperation and free trade agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China.

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