CPEC opening new doors of opportunities for Balochistan: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD, Dec 8 (APP): Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reforms, Ahsan Iqbal Thursday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was opening new doors of opportunities for the people of Balochistan.

According to a press release issued here, he said, all suspicions about the Western route have been proven wrong and mentioned that the first trade convoy carrying Chinese goods for export to the Middle East
and Africa through this route.

The CPEC was considered a game-changer for Pakistan as it would create opportunities for progress and prosperity in the region, especially for Balochistan, he said. The CEPC would make Gwadar a hub of trade activities and help eliminate poverty from this less developed area by creating many new jobs for the local people, he added.

He said, through CPEC Pakistan will be able to attract the kind of investment it could not attract in the past. He added that Chinese leadership has made it clear that they wanted to strengthen
Pakistan’s industry through the CPEC initiative.

Updating on the improved energy situation in Pakistan, he said, from 18-20 hours daily load shedding in 2013, it has come down to 6-8 hours.

Ahsan Iqbal said, “The biggest ever investment in the country is being made in energy sector, which is US $35 billion out of US$46 billion portfolio of CPEC.”

In last 67 years, the country managed to produce only 17,000 MW energy while in only three years, we have been able to add 11,000 MW electricity in the national grid”.

The Minister informed the groundbreaking of Diamir-Bhasha dam will be performed next year.

He opined that the economic take off has changed the perception of the world about Pakistan, adding, the current government’s economic agenda will play a pivotal role in making Pakistan and economic super power.

He mentioned that the world is witnessing a transformation and it is imperative that countries prepare for this transformation.

He explained that there was a time when Pakistan’s economic growth reached 6% as a result of dollar inflow and slumped as soon as it stopped.

The 60’s, 80’s and 9/11 witnessed this trend. In the 90’s Pakistan developed an economic plan that was later used by India, but unfortunately Pakistan became a victim of political instability.

“In 2013, we got another chance to uplift the economy. We will be able to achieve a 5% growth rate this year and will strive for a 6% next year.”

Giving economic overview of the country, he said, “In the last three years, the economy has seen a steady growth from 2.5% in 2013 to 4.8% last year, which is the highest growth rate in the last eight years.

“Our foreign reserves with $24 billion are the highest in the history of Pakistan. This economic take off has changed the perception of the world about Pakistan,” he said.