The Caretaker Minister for Finance, Planning, Development and Reform, Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, on Tuesday, said that substantive growth had been made in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects during last five years, wherein a total of 22 projects worth around $ 28.6 billion in CPEC portfolio were under implementation.
She expressed these views while addressing 55th CPEC Progress Review Meeting, which was also attended by Chinese Ambassador Yao Jing, Secretary Ministry of Planning Development and Reforms, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Project Director CPEC, Hassan Daud and officials from line ministries and provincial governments as well as Chinese companies, said a press release.
On the occasion, officials from the Board of Investment, National Highway Authority, Ministry of Energy, Railway, Maritime Affairs and Gwadar Development Authority presented detailed progress reports on the CPEC projects.
Addressing the meeting, the minister said that the presence of all stakeholders under one roof was a testament to the fact that CPEC was an all-inclusive project for which everyone was fully committed.
She said that CPEC was an unprecedented opportunity to be capitalized upon in Pakistan’s history.
Dr. Shamshad said that after significant achievements during last five years, more projects were expected to be under operation including groundbreaking of New Gwadar International Airport this year, which in itself was a huge milestone for CPEC.
“Moreover, further cooperation under CPEC is expected in the future for the development of infrastructure projects such as ML-1 upgradation, Karachi Circular Railway, road projects as well as industrial cooperation”, she added. She further highlighted that Pakistan and China bilateral relations were time-tested, as we had a long history of cordial, friendly and strategic cooperation in all areas and domains.
Friendship with China was the cornerstone of Pakistan’s foreign policy and the strategic cooperative partnership was moving from strength to strength, she underscored.
The minister reassured China of full cooperation and support in promoting unparalleled partnership under the framework of CPEC and Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
She emphasized to further expedite work on projects at Gwadar and the Special Economic Zones that were not only of vital importance in the portfolio of CPEC but for the local population as well.
She was of the view that one of the main gains from CPEC is the trade and industry development and cooperation to ensure sustainable economic growth and shape new industry clusters as well as take fruits of CPEC to lesser developed regions of Pakistan.
She pointed out that both countries needed to aggressively pursue the mega initiative to shape a new international logistics network in the region and promote regional economic integration through international economic, trade and technological cooperation and people exchanges.
She further said that the two countries would make full use of existing bilateral cooperation mechanisms to form synergy, give each other support and learn from each other so as to complement and fully display each other’s strengths.
Dr. Shamshad further underlined to continue in this pursuit so that we can bring transformational changes in our approach towards ease of doing business which will be key to attracting foreign direct investment (FDI).
She further reassured that despite the government being under transition, CPEC projects will not be impacted in any way by such developments. “It is our job to make sure that CPEC projects are timely completed according to the agreed timelines and terms”, she added.