Ahsan Iqbal asks ICCI to partner with government in CPEC implementation

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 5 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Prof. Ahsan Iqbal Monday called upon Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) to partner with government in implementation of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.

Ahsan Iqbal said ICCI should set up a cell on CPEC to identify opportunities of joint ventures for private sector in CPEC.

The minister said ICCI should also form a think tank to help government in making future development plans.

He said CPEC would be more beneficial to Pakistan than China as it would start a new era of energy and infrastructure development projects in the country.

He said CPEC would bring many backward areas of Pakistan into the mainstream of economy and would generate lot of jobs and business activities in such areas.

He expressed these views while addressing business community here at ICCI.

Ahsan Iqbal said 16000MW electricity was added to Pakistan in the last more than 60 years while energy projects under CPEC would generate 11000MW electricity in Pakistan which would be further enhanced up to 30,000MW by 2025 which would help business and industry to flourish.

Minister said the next century was the century of Asia and Pakistan being at a strategic location would play more effective role in regional connectivity.

He said to include Pakistan into top 25 economies of the world, we have to increase our annual exports to US$ 150 billion and added that private sector has to take the lead to achieve this target.

He said share of textiles was just 4% while that of engineering goods was up to 38% in international trade and stressed that private sector should focus on value added products including engineering, IT and others to make Pakistan an export-led economy.

He said an Expo Center in Islamabad have been envisaged in the next ADP and assured that he would try to get a special package for local industry from the Prime Minister to enable it in modernization and value addition pursuits.

In his welcome address, President ICCI, Khalid Iqbal Malik urged that private sector should be provided maximum opportunities in CPEC project and government should provide same kind of incentives to local investors as were being given to the Chinese investors.

Khalid Malik said the local industry badly needed latest machinery and equipment to modernize and produce value added products, but almost 28 percent aggregate duty on the import of industrial machinery was major hurdle for it.

He stressed that government should introduce zero rated import
regime for industrial machinery to facilitate the upgradation of
local industry.

He said every year, government allocated billions of rupees for Public Sector Development projects, but either this budget was not fully utilized or diverted to other purpose which proved harmful for the economy.

He emphasized government should avoid this practice and ensure full utilization of PSDP budget to accelerate the economic growth of the country.

He said ICCI was striving for a new industrial estate in this region and Planning Commission should include this item in its annual development agenda for materialization of this important project that would help in promoting industrialization, encouraging new investment and promoting jobs.

He said private sector should be given due representation in Planning Commission to ensure that all development plans were made with the input its input.

Khalid Malik Senior Vice President, Tahir Ayub Vice President ICCI, Khalid Javed, Mian Akram Farid, Tariq Sadiq, Zafar Bakhtawari, Inayatullah Mirza, M. Ejaz Abbasi, Zikria A Zia, Khalid Chaudhry, Fatima Azeem, Nasira Ali and others also spoke at the occasi.