Islamabad, Sept 21, 2017: Minister for Interior and Planning Development & Reform, Ahsan Iqbal said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor has played a transformational role in Pakistan by providing a strong economic platform, ensuring inclusive development and integration with regional economies.
He expressed these views while chairing the CPEC 50th Progress Review Meeting at Ministry of Planning, Islamabad. Chinese Ambassador at Islamabad, Sun Weidong, officials from Chinese Companies, federal ministries and provincial governments attended the meeting.
Minister said that CPEC has transformed Pakistan completely, making at an attractive destination for foreign direct investment. “The country known as terrorist hub, turned into a safe haven for billion dollar investment” Minister said.
He said China''s FDI was 13 percent 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. CPEC has created conducive environment in Pakistan, guarantying its security and bright future, said Minister Ahsan Iqbal.
Minister further instructed to fast track projects approved in 6th Joint Cooperation Committee of CPEC held last year. “7th JCC meeting, expected at the end of this year would take journey of CPEC into new heights and development milestones will be achieved”.
Minister further said that support and unity from the provinces on CPEC has contributed to speedy implementation and completion of projects. “Provinces role is important to provide adequate security to workers engaged in construction of CPEC projects” Minister highlighted.
During the meeting, line ministries have briefed about progress on projects in different sector.
Ahsan Iqbal instructed the provinces to complete feasibilities of special economic zones, being developed under CPEC in 60 days. He further stressed on restructuring of Board of Investment, asking for recommendations in a week time. “Reforms and strengthening of this board will contribute in bringing more investment” he said.
Minister further instructed officials of Higher Education Commission to ensure that the CPEC Business Schools Consortium work closely with Chinese to explore news investment avenue and identify industries that are interested to relocate to Pakistan.
Minister further instructed for speedy implementation and completion of Gwadar water supply and power plant projects which are necessary for the social uplift of local population at this port city. Minister further directed to ensure ground breaking of Gwadar International Airport and Eastbay Expressway this year.
Pakistan Railway has briefed the participants about ML-1 up gradation project, a CPEC initiative that will transform railway system in Pakistan. Minister said that financing matters of this project would be resolved soon, ensuring launching of this initiative till end of this year.
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. Minister Ahsan Iqbal instructed for speedy completion of eastern and western route besides the new provincial projects, identified in 6th JJC. NHA officials told that feasibilities of provincial projects including Naukundi-Mashkhel-Panjgur Road Project connecting with M-8 & N-85, Chitral CPEC link road from Gilgit, Shandor, Chitral to Chakdara, Mirpur – Muzaffarabad - Mansehra Road Construction for connectivity with CPEC route have been completed and a request for financing would be made during next JCC.
NHA officials also informed that bidding process of Indus Highway Dualization projects has been completed and ground breaking of the project would be done soon.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal also issued direction for fast tracking work on Diamir Basha Dam to ensure a breakthrough on this mega dam projects this year.
While speaking to media after the meeting, Minister said that Pakistan and China’s friendship is time-tested. “Those who are trying to hamper development of Pakistan by creating political instability would not succeed” he added.
Minister Ahsan Iqbal and Ambassador Sun Weidong joined the cake cutting ceremony to mark progress on CPEC projects.