ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said that scope of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been enlarged by including social sector development along with energy, infrastructure and transport.
It will help to uplift socially the backward areas of the country particularly Gwadar, the gateway of China.
In his opening remarks at 5th Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of CPEC in Karachi, Ahsan Iqbal said that development of CPEC would not only help in achieving China’s growth momentum but will also translate accelerating growth rate resulting in peace, harmony and progress as a fruit of our generation long friendship.
The minister emphasized that long term plan for the corridor should be developed in a comprehensive manner including utilization of spatial planning, identifying the needs of improvement in various forms and means of communication, focusing on industrial and agricultural cooperation, which should be in the interest of both countries.
Further, the establishment of industrial parks and creating opportunities for improvement in employment and livelihood, identifying tourism prospects, efficient and effective utilization and conservation of resources including water, and identifying ways and means of financial cooperation to ensure the implementation of all these projects, he mentioned.
Minister Planning and Development stated, “Energy is a big constraint for Pakistan’s development objective and has multifaceted challenges.
“In the backdrop of our facilitation agreement, we had to jointly manage the completion of the project as per energy planning timelines”, he added.
Necessary implementation steps and technical formalities have almost been completed and for those prioritized, which have matured for completing financing arrangements. Minister hoped that financial close of these projects should be achieved soon.
“We also look forward to hear about the review process of energy projects and sign supplemental agreements to reflect the results including new projects agreed by the working group”, Ahsan Iqbal added.
About infrastructure projects, Minister noted that implementation of infrastructure projects is the backbone for the development of CPEC.
It is essential that commercial contracts for the two big transport infrastructure early harvest projects, KKH Phase-II Thakot-Havelian section and KLM Multan Sukhur section are concluded at the earliest so that projects are completed as per the agreed time lines.
On Gwadar, the minister said it is the gateway of CPEC and need to work together for implementation of identified key initiatives to make Gawadar one of the most strategic port cities of the world and thereby creating immense opportunities and value for both the countries.
He commended the cooperation of Chinese government for considering the grant funding for development of Gwadar Port City master plan.
“We would like that work on master plan should start as soon as possible”, Ahsan stated.
Minister said that handing over of land for development of free zone has taken place which is a milestone in CPEC.
He appreciated the support and cooperation of the Chinese government, investors and financial institutions for development of CPEC and stated that we look forward to further enhance this engagement through exchange programs of private sector.
Minister said that both Pakistan and China are committed to pursue their agreed economic agenda.
“We firmly believe that building this corridor would change dynamics the economic growth in the region and would bring prosperity and harmony in both countries as well as in the entire region.”