CPEC transformational in creating inclusive economic platform: Ahsan Iqbal


ISLAMABAD: Minister for Interior and Planning Development & Reform Ahsan Iqbal said on Thursday that the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has played a transformational role in Pakistan by providing a strong economic platform, ensuring inclusive development and integration with regional economies.

While chairing the CPEC 50th Progress Review Meeting at Ministry of Planning, Islamabad, he said that the CPEC has transformed Pakistan completely, making it an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. “The country, once known as a terrorist hub, is now a safe haven for billion dollar investment,” minister said.

Chinese Ambassador at Islamabad, Sun Weidong, officials from Chinese Companies, federal ministries and provincial governments attended the meeting.

He further said China’s FDI was 13 per cent of the total foreign investment in 2013, far behind other countries. “But now after the CPEC, China has emerged as the top country in respect of FDI in Pakistan,” he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that size of any economy now matters in world politics whereas economic strength of a country defines security and future prospects. The CPEC has created a conducive environment in Pakistan, guarantying its security and bright future, said Minister Iqbal.

He further instructed to fast track projects approved in 6th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC held last year. “7th JCC meeting, expected at the end of this year would take the journey of CPEC to new heights and development milestones will be achieved”.

During the meeting, line ministries briefed about progress on projects in different sectors. Ahsan Iqbal instructed the provinces to complete feasibilities of special economic zones, being developed under CPEC in 60 days. He further stressed on the restructuring of Board of Investment, asking for recommendations in a week time. “Reforms and strengthening of this board will contribute in bringing more investments,” he said.

Moreover, the minister also directed officials of Higher Education Commission to ensure that the CPEC Business Schools Consortium works closely with Chinese to explore news investment avenue and identify industries that are interested to relocate to Pakistan.

He further instructed for speedy implementation and completion of Gwadar water supply and power plant projects besides stressing on completion of Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway this year.

Pakistan Railway also briefed the participants about ML-1 up gradation project, a CPEC initiative that will transform railway system in Pakistan.

Ministry of Communication and National Highway Authority officials have briefed the participants regarding transport infrastructure projects, informing that work on all the routes including KKH, Multan-Sukkur and Dera Ismail Khan-Burhan motorways projects are going according to the schedule.

NHA officials also informed that bidding process of Indus Highway Dualization projects has been completed and the project would be completed soon.

Minister Ahsan Iqbal also issued direction for quick work on Diamir Basha Dam to ensure a breakthrough on this mega-dam project this year.