ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal has asked Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to finalize a detailed plan to ensure its crucial role in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by setting up business friendly and state of the art documentation system, monitoring and implementation as well as evaluation and assessment mechanism.
He issued these instructions while addressing a Business and Research Seminar on China Pakistan Economic Corridor organized by Directorate of Training and Research (Customs), FBR here on Friday.
Secretary Planning, Development & Reform, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui was also present on the occasion while Project Director CPEC, Hassan Daud Butt the briefed the participants regarding CPEC projects.
Minister noted that Customs has to play a crucial role in CPEC to facilitate effective channels for engaging Pakistan in global supply chain and assist in developing Pakistan’s market oriented economy and industries.
He said that Pakistan needs to synergize with fast industrialization process and innovations in technologies to ensure rapid growth and inclusive development in the country.
CPEC has provided an opportunity to promote new markets and connectivity across the entire region and there is need for further cooperation, Minister remarked while highlighting impact of CPEC on Pakistan and the region.
Minister said that historically all countries progressed by virtue of partnerships. Japan and South Korea had developed due to USA and India progressed due to alliance first with USSR and now USA. Days of non-alignment are over, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan was lucky to have a time tested relationship with China. Our Vision 2025 and China’s Annual Plan complement each other Minister remarked, saying that CPEC has transformed this bilateral relation from strategic into economic nature. Minister said that currently, CPEC is fastest developing corridor in entire Belt and Road Initiative and a number of its early harvest projects are attaining completion.
Pakistan has completed Sahiwal Coal Fired critical technology plant in record time, setting a precedent that together, Pakistan and China can do wonders, Ahsan Iqbal added.
Today is the age of discovery, innovation and speed wherein old concepts as well as paradigms have become redundant, minister noted, saying In past, big used to eat small but now, fast eats slow. Every nation state has to adapt to new ways and technology.
Ahsan Iqbal said that 4 ‘I’; investment, industries, information and individuals are crucial for development of any country, now beyond control of nation states.
Every country has to attract global investment and make country attractive investment destination. Security, stability of policies and sustainable growth paves way for ensuring an attractive investment destination Minister added.
Minister said that engaging country in global supply chain is crucial for industrial development. Today, manufacturing has taken shape of global supply chain as industries are going global. Toyota Japanese automobile industries are producing more vehicles in USA than Japan he added.
Information can’t be confined to geography due to age of internet while individuals have to go with tide of time and make valuable contributions by spotting opportunities and hitting at right spots without waiting for any help, Minister added. .
Ahsan Iqbal said that we are at the tip of 4th Industrial revolution; an age of big data, cloud computing and robotics where basic economics have to redefine their ways. We might be victims if we don’t embrace change he remarked, adding that there can be three responses to such changes; either embrace change proactively by developing our capacity and becoming competitive, wake up when the change happens and make compromise with the change or Ignore the Change and get wiped off the scene forever.
He said that in 2013, Pakistan was facing 18 to 20 hours of power outages and the country had a serious threat of civil war, whereas, industries were packing up and multi nationals were leaving Pakistan. 9% of GDP used to go for servicing deficit and stock market had crashed. We were at brink of default in 2014, Ahsan Iqbal noted.
He said that the present government had developed Vision 2025 to build a long term development plan which has put Pakistan back to center stage of economic growth. We aim to enlist Pakistan in top 25 economies of the world. Minister said that today, deficit is down to 5% of overall GDP and foreign reserves have risen to 22 billion US Dollar while Pakistan stock exchange index has gone to 50000 points until recent political instability and negativity that has done huge harm to our development progress.
We need to ensure stability, social solidarity, internal harmony, reforms, improve and align ourselves with international happening. Otherwise our ship will sink, Ahsan Iqbal observed.
Ahsan Iqbal further told that we have seized the moment where 85 million labour intensive jobs in China are to be relocated. Otherwise the opportunities will go to Laos, Cambodia and other parts of world he said, adding that our industrialization should be robust and competitive in order to completely capitalize on this geo economic mega regional initiative.
Minister informed that 4 auto mobile companies have expressed interest in investment in Pakistan, while there will be more interest in investment from around the world provided that we develop internal harmony and ensure political stability.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Premier Li Keqiang together started this initiative and we have to take it to heights of development, he remarked.
Reference to an article, Minister said that CPEC is not stealth but a transparent and open project. CPEC is Airbus A380 that is rowing around the world, spreading positive vibes, bringing investment into Pakistan and restoring our energy, he stated.