Shibli Faraz terms CPEC a catalyst for Pakistan’s socio-economic uplift

ISLAMABAD: Information and Broadcasting Minister Senator Shibli Faraz said on Wednesday that the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a win-win project of Pak-China economic cooperation.

Addressing a seminar on CPEC in the federal capital on Wednesday, the information minister said that besides diversifying Chinese supply lines, CPEC will prove to be a catalyst for Pakistan’s socio-economic development.

The minister said that CPEC is a game changer not only for Pakistan, but also for the entire region, as it is based on the idea of shared development. He said that CPEC is a manifestation of China’s special relationship with Pakistan.

“Under this project, Gwadar is going to become a hub of economic activities like Middle East and North Africa,” the minister said, adding that major CPEC initiatives include construction of road networks, extension of Gwadar Port to Khunjerab Pass, up-gradation of ML-1, power projects of 10,000 megawatts and Gwadar-Nawabshah pipeline to transport gas from Iran.

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Faraz said that CPEC is estimated to generate Rs6 billion to Rs8 billion per annum just in taxes — through toll tax on roads and bridges. A total of two million jobs are expected to be created in the next 10 years, which will result in more than 2.5pc annual rise in GDP, he added.

The minister claimed that CPEC had made remarkable progress in the first phase. “A majority of projects planned in the construction, infrastructure and energy sectors have been carried out successfully while some are in the execution phase.”

He said the second stage of CPEC will further focus on industrialisation, agriculture modernisation and socio-economic development. Faraz opined that projects in the existing and newly established areas will enhance the capacity of Pakistan, which would ultimately improve the economic competitiveness of the country.

The minister also stressed the need to counter the negative propaganda against CPEC projects and Pak-China bilateral ties.

Addressing the seminar, Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhary said that CPEC has a huge future, with Pakistan becoming an attractive market for Chinese investors.

The minister said that under the framework, 11 special economic zones are being established, which will promote industrialisation in the country.

“We plan to uplift our semiconductor industry and bring value addition to our products with the cooperation of Chinese friends,” he said. “We have also approached Chinese companies to shift their solar panel manufacturing units to Pakistan.”

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