Shehbaz asks businessmen to get ready to benefit from CPEC

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LAHORE, Dec 21 (APP): Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif on Wednesday called upon the business community to prepare for reaping optimum benefits from projects under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
He was addressing the 1st Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) Excellence Award 2016 (Punjab) here at 90-Shahra Quaid-i-Azam, where FPCCI President Abur Rauf Alam, SVP Sheikh Khalid Tawwab, Regional Chairman and VP Mian Rehman Aziz, United Business Group Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik, and TDAP CEO S.M. Munir also spoke.
Chief Minister said sub-contracting of the CPEC projects had greater scope for the local investors and industrialists. Pakistani businessmen could also get a win-win situation by entering into joint ventures with Chinese counterparts and companies investing in Pakistan in leather, textile, engineering and other sectors under the CPEC that had vitas of opportunities. China, he said, had expressed its great love for Pakistan by making huge investment under the CPEC and now its up to Pakistani business community as to how and to what extent they could benefit from mega Chinese investment.
He acknowledged that despite being faced with numerous challenges,
country’s business community had promoted industry, exports by ensuring quality and timely deliverance of shipments to respective destinations.
Under the able leadership of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif,
Pakistan would get rid of energy crisis by next year, he hoped and asserted that government was not only striving to bridge energy demand and supply gap but also making its tariff affordable to consumers of all categories. Per unit cost of electricity was being stabilized in the country, he said and added that three gas-based power projects of 3600MW accumulative capacity were being completed speedily in Punjab. He also mentioned that NEPRA had reduced per unit cost of these projects to Rs 6.5 from Rs 10.5.
Chief Minister added that 1350MW coal-fired power project at Sahiwal
would start generation by mid next year and 1350MW coal-fired power project at Port Qasim would start generation by end next year. He said power projects of hydel, coal, gas and solar worth US $ 12 billion were under completion in Punjab, Sindh and KPK.
He mentioned that 969MW Neelum-Jehlam Hydro Power Project was started in 2003 with an estimated cost of US $ 800 million but due to negligence of past governments, the project could not be completed yet and its cost increased up to US $ 4.5 billion.
Regarding distribution and tariff of gas to industry in provinces, he
stressed the need for an informed dialogue among all stakeholders at federal level to formulate a uniformed policy that would be equally beneficial for the whole industry across Pakistan and help raise country’s exports.
Responding to business community’s demands, the Chief Minister announced a committee under the leadership of Punjab Industries Minister and asked the FPCCI and other related trade bodies to come up with viable proposals on their main issues. He assured the business community that he would go along with them and take up their issues with federal government.
Earlier in his keynote address, FPCCI President Abdur Rauf Alam
appreciated the government for ushering in new era of development and prosperity in the country by initiative massive developmental projects.
Federation’s SVP Sheikh Khalid Tawwab said Punjab government under the dynamic leadership of Shehbaz Sharif was implementing successful economic policies and turned Punjab into a role-model for the other provinces to achieve progress. “You (Shehbaz Sharif) are the best Chief Minister in Pakistan,” he added.
He, however, urged the Chief Minister to help resolve the business community’s issue of GIDC (Gas Infrastructure Development Cess).
At the end, the Chief Minister gave away the FPCCI Excellence awards
to representatives of the selected companies.