CPEC to make Pakistan ‘power house’ of Asia: Ahsan Iqbal

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ISLAMABAD, Dec 6 (APP): Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal has said the projects being completed under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiative, had the potential to make the country a ‘power house’ of Asia.
Terming CPEC a corruption-free programme, and fate changer for Pakistan, he said there was zero chance of corruption in the projects as out of total 46 billion dollars, 40 billion dollars would be invested in power sector through private investors and private sector
would have to get return of its investment.The remaining 6 billion dollars would be a concessional financing from Chinese government for the projects of infrastructure, he said in
a statement here.The minister said that Chinese government would nominate a panel of
three reputed companies in this regard.Ahsan Iqbal said the bidding would be made among all the three companies and the lowest bidder would be awarded with the contract.
He said national institutions had fixed the tariffs for different energy projects of investment including coal, wind, hydel and solar in country’s energy policy. The contract would be signed with any contractor to purchase the electricity on the fixed tariff, he added.
The minister said being a time-tested friend, China had taken a decision of huge investment in Pakistan at a time when the local investors were hesitating to invest in the country.
The minister said the CPEC had changed the world’s perception regarding Pakistan.
Meanwhile, talking to a Chinese delegation, he said Pakistan and China could work on joint ventures in industrial sector to produce competitive products for global markets.The real potential of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) lies in industrial sector, he added.
The minister opined that relocation of Chinese industries to Pakistan offerd economic dividends to both countries due avaaibility of less expensive labour in Pakistan.
“Industrialization always thrives on cheap labour and Pakistan s the most attractive destination for industrialization because of low cost of labour here”, Ahsan Iqbal stated this at a meeting with the delegation from Shaanxi province of China with Pakistani officials
and people from industrial sector at Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform.
He talked extensively on the relationship between China and Pakistan, which he said are time tested and all-weathered. Ahsan Iqbal pointed that out that first phase of CPEC is related
to Chinese investment in energy, infrastructure and Gawadar. The real potential of this mega project was related to Chinese investment in industrial sector of Pakistan, on which both countries are working speedily, he aded.Pakistan, he said, was located at centre of three engines of growth i.e. South Asia, Central Asia and China, therefore “we can
integrate it to create into a big market of three billion people”.
He said CPEC has a win-a-win proposition and Pakistan has advantage to serve as manufacturing and service hub through CPEC and China side will have economical route for its goods to world markets. About the significance Gawadar, Ahsan Iqbal informed the
Chinese delegation that deep sea port in Gawadar will serve both China and Pakistan to harness opportunities of regional connectivity through maritime trade to Middle East, Africa and Europe. The minister said that China and Pakistan always enjoyed exemplry political relations in past and CPEC added economic dimension to these cordial and brotherly relations when both countries demonstrated their desire to take the relationship to strategic economic cooperation after Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to China in July 2013 and Chinese President’s visit to Pakistan in April 2015. “CPEC is the first drop of big ocean to pave the way for more Chinese investment in various sectors”, he added. About the visit of Shaanxi province of China to Pakistan, Ahsan Iqbal hoped that it would open new avenues of cooperation in trade, commerce and industry.He stated “it is heartening to note that the people from industrial, infrastructure and financial sector are part of this delegation. We look forward to active participation of Shaanxi province in CPEC projects”.