China Pakistan Economy Corridor (CPEC) employs about 60 thousand Pakistani laborers. There are less than 20 thousand Chinese working on the mega project. This figure also includes engineers and technicians working on CPEC and non-CPEC projects.
This was disclosed by Senator Mushahid Hussain Sayed in a Seminar “CPEC: Prospect, Challenges and the Way Forward.”
The seminar was organized by the National Institute of Management (NIM) Karachi on Nov 16. Chinese Counsel General in Karachi Wang Yu, Sindh Minister for Transport, HR, Information & Labor Syed Nasir Hussain Shah, Economist Kasir Bengali and others addressed the seminar.
Mushahid Hussain said that for CPEC, everyone at the Federal and Provincial level is on board and there is no difference over the project. He clarified the misconception about the Chinese not employing Pakistani laborers. He also rejected claims that the Chinese brought prisoners to work as laborers.
There are about 9581 Chinese citizens working on CPEC related projects and about 9500 are working on non CPEC projects. Most of them are engineers and technicians. About 60,000 Pakistani laborers (both skilled and semi skilled) are working on CPEC.
Mr. Mushahid said that Chinese labor is expensive and that salary of a non-skilled Chinese laborer is Rs. 80,000 whereas a Pakistani laborer is paid between Rs. 14-25,000. He further said that there is no economic value to bringing Chinese labor to Pakistan. He also mentioned that a big number of Pakistanis are studying in China.
At this time about 22,000 Pakistanis are studying and under training in China. 5000 of them have been sponsored by the Government of Pakistan.
The Senator also rejected claims that the Pakistani industry is hurting due to tax exemptions given to the Chinese. The Pakistani industry continues to import cement and steel from China.
Pakistan’s cement and steel industry is doubling its capacity. Currently our cement production capacity is 46 million tons and by the next year this will be up to 76 million tons. Steel production is 7.1 million tons and in 2019 it will go up to 12 million tons.
In his address, Chinese Counsel General Karachi Wang Yu discussed the Chinese philosophy of growth. He said that China has changed its development pattern.
“China is shifting from high growth module to high-tech growth module. By the middle of this century China will be a modern, high tech and one of the most prosperous nations in the world. China’s growth policy is to maintain balance between humans and nature,” Wang said.
He said that his country’s relationship and economic cooperation with Pakistan is rather unique when it comes to China’s foreign policy. Chinese leadership and people consider Pakistan as a brother. He also added that the CPEC is not against any party or country.
With CPEC, China is not only building infrastructure in Pakistan but also training the Pakistani workforce.
Bin Qasim Power Plant has sent 100 Pakistani youth to China for training on how to operate and maintain the plant. China is building a vocational training center and hospital in Gwadar as well.