CPEC to play key role in reviving Pakistan’s economy: official
BEIJING: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), a flagship project of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), is one of the most important projects for the economic revival of Pakistan, an official said.
“CPEC’s Phase II will be developing an industrial hub in the country, providing many opportunities for [the] local and foreign investors,” Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on CPEC Affairs Khalid Mansoor told Chinese media.
Underlining the importance of CPEC to uplifting the agriculture sector of the country, Mansoor said that Pakistan is an agricultural country and its economy depends on the development of the agriculture sector, which meets most of the food requirements of the country.
“There are several areas where we can benefit from the excellent research and experience of Chinese agricultural sector, for improving the quality of seed, and then benefiting from the research and development to improve yields, and to improve and modernise mechanical cultivation and harvesting.”
Pakistan is also working on upgrading its livestock sector and enhancing its meat exports, which can all be expected to achieve with the cooperation of China, he said.
Talking about the commitment of the two countries to make CPEC a green corridor, the official said, they would be growing a number of trees along the CPEC route and “we want to make sure that as the industrial hub is going to be increased, it should not be detrimental for the people’s health and also make sure that it is not polluting the environment by producing emissions.”
The coal power plants working under CPEC in Pakistan are ensuring that they use state-of-the-art technology to meet the world standards in emissions and removing the apprehensions that they are hazardous to the environment, he said.
The official said the common people of Pakistan are the ultimate beneficiaries of the CPEC projects.
“We believe that wherever we are putting our industry, the adjoining community should fully benefit…Projects are underway, which are going to be improving their health, their education, their livelihood, so specific projects are being developed and there are several projects, which are in the implementation stage with the help of China’s grant, including vocational institute, hospital, international airport, etc,” he added.
Apart from job opportunities and livelihood prospects, CPEC is also resolving the daily life problems of the people, Mansoor said, citing the example of the country’s southwest Gwadar district where people had a shortage of clean drinking water and electricity.
“So, we are working very closely with the authorities like [the] Gwadar Development Authority and [the] Gwadar Port Authority, and the Chinese company to ensure provision of all sorts of facilitation to the residents of Gwadar,” he said.
Talking about CPEC’s creation of job opportunities for the unemployed in Pakistan, the official said, in the Phase II, huge job opportunities would be created for the people and special importance will be attached to their skill enhancement and for that purpose, vocational training institutes will be constructed in the special economic zones.
“The strategy is that the unskilled people are going to be trained and hired in the project activity and; thereafter, they will get opportunities to earn and support their families.”
On the role of the BRI in the Pakistan-Afghanistan cooperation, Mansoor said that BRI would unfold a lot of economic opportunities for the landlocked country, which will get the chance to enhance its exports through regional connectivity offered by the Belt and Road Initiative.
“The BRI has got a clear-cut mandate for regional connectivity, whether it is in Afghanistan or other neighbouring countries,” he said, adding that CPEC’s Phase II will not only bring revolution in Pakistan but also benefit Afghanistan.
He said due to CPEC’s special economic zones, Pakistan is going to be a major manufacturing hub, which will not only develop Pakistan’s economy but will also create huge opportunities for Afghanistan to rebuild and revive its economy.
“Afghanistan is a landlocked country, so it will have to depend on Pakistan for its needs in terms of importing and exporting. So we believe that this regional connectivity through the BRI will be really providing opportunities for us to develop further ties with our brotherly country Afghanistan and also providing mutual opportunities for the growth of the economy in Afghanistan and Pakistan,” he added.
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