Long term CPEC plan delivers framework for industrialisation in Pakistan: Ahsan Iqbal

BEIJING: Federal Minister for Interior and Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal has said that the Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) provided a conceptual framework for CPEC up to 2030.

In an interview published by the Beijing Review on Tuesday, Iqbal told the Chinese media outlet that the plan had also delivered a framework for industrialisation in Pakistan.

“To finalise LTP, the government consulted all provinces, federal ministries, and their respective technical groups,” the federal minister said.

The plan, according to Iqbal, was completely in line with the seven pillars of Pakistan Vision 2025, which were founded on the economic principles of inclusive and sustainable development.

“The seven salient features of the LTP are connectivity, energy, trade and industrial parks, agricultural development and poverty alleviation, tourism, cooperation in areas concerning people’s livelihoods and non-governmental exchanges and financial cooperation,” he added.

New CPEC phase to ensure transfer of technology to Pakistan: Ahsan Iqbal 

“CPEC will greatly speed up the industrialisation and urbanisation process in Pakistan and help it grow into a highly inclusive, globally competitive and prosperous country capable of providing high-quality life to its citizens,” the minister remarked.

Terming it a route to success and sharing some of the significant features of CPEC’s long-term plan for industrialisation of Pakistan, Ahsan Iqbal noted that connectivity was the cornerstone of development, saying, “It increases the flow of goods, information and people across regions.”

Iqbal was of the opinion that an integrated transport system was central to the long term plan, which included the construction and development of Kashgar-Islamabad, Peshawar-Islamabad-Karachi, Hakla-Dera Ismail Khan, Sukkur-Gwadar Port and Dera Ismail Khan-Quetta-Sohrab-Gwadar road infrastructure.

“It seeks to improve connectivity within Pakistan and inter-connectivity with China,” he elaborated.

“The development of Gwadar Port City, Gwadar Airport and Easy Bay Expressway are going to transform the city of Gwadar into a maritime trade hub, and a new smart port city for the region. It will also lead to the industrialisation of Balochistan,” the minister outlined.

Gwadar master plan to be prepared in line with CPEC: Ahsan Iqbal

Talking about the information technology sector as another crucial aspect for the development of the country, Iqbal said that, ”In this regard, we have laid a cross-border fiber optic cable between Pakistan and China, and agreed to cooperate in promoting the technologies of the fourth industrial revolution in Pakistan.”

He said that in the energy sector, both countries would enhance cooperation in the fields of oil and gas, electricity and power grids and added the focus is on thermal power, hydropower, coal gasification, renewable power generation and modernizing power transmission networks.

“CPEC had already addressed the major energy bottleneck in Pakistan, and over half of the 10,000 MW energy added recently to the national grid came from CPEC cooperation. To build an industrial base, he said, new industrial parks and special economic zones would be built all over the country,” Iqbal promised.

“Both countries will cooperate to improve efficiency in the textile and garment industries, which together make up the backbone of Pakistan’s export sector. Engineering-based industries will also be developed in Pakistan,” he added.

The minister said that it was important to note that no country has successfully industrialised without also modernizing its agricultural sector.

“CPEC will allow us to modernise agriculture through the introduction of new technologies such as biological breeding and drip irrigation. The emphasis is to improve the income of small farmers by increasing their productivity and efficiency.”

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Addressing concerns about the declining tourism industry in Pakistan, Iqbal stressed that coastal tourism could also become a new niche for Pakistan, , “CPEC will allow us to build coastal leisure and vacationing centers across the Keti-Bander-Karachi, Sonmiani-Ormara, Jhal Jhao, Gwadar and Jiwani routes.”

He said that the CPEC was about cooperation at all levels between both countries, including non-government organizations and people-to-people interactions.

“For the cross-fertilization of ideas and cultures, the exchange of students, tourists and academics will be an integral component of the corridor’s plans,” Iqbal maintained.

In an answer to a question, Iqbal backed monetary cooperation between central banks of Pakistan and China.

“Both countries agree on bilateral currency swap arrangements and would prefer making payments in Renminbi and rupees regarding CPEC projects rather than any third-party currency.”

The implementation of CPEC would take place in three phases, each with clear goals, the article in the Chinese daily quoted the minister as saying.

“In the first phase, to be achieved by 2020, the major bottlenecks in Pakistan’s socio-economic development will be addressed in their entirety, and CPEC shall start to boost the economic growth along it for both countries.”

“The second phase will be completed by 2025, when all the infrastructure of CPEC will be ready and all industrial projects will have been completed. As a result, CPEC will have a major impact on the livelihoods of people living along the corridor,” Ahsan Iqbal outlined.

Providing further details, the minister said that the third phase of  LTP will mature by 2030, and by then the mechanisms for indigenous, inclusive and sustainable economic growth will be in place in Pakistan.

Iqbal allays neighbours’ ‘concerns’ about CPEC

“Pakistan is a democratic country where provincial governments are not only autonomous, but are also led by different political parties which are staunch opponents of each other. Nonetheless, the federal government and all provincial governments are united in making the LTP and CPEC a game changer for Pakistan,” Iqbal said in response to concerns about political instability in the country.

“Pakistan was a country full of promise and potential but due to the strategic mistakes of the past, we have not realised our true development potential yet.”

Iqbal is the first PML-N leader to have come out and condemn statement made by his own party member

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    Original news : https://tribune.com.pk/story/1604156/1-long-term-cpec-plan-delivers-framework-industrialisation-pakistan-ahsan-iqbal/