Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan has achieved an economic growth rate of 5 percent and  with political stability? world’s key investors are eying Pakistan as a potential investment market.He expressed these views on Tuesday while addressing the participants of 106thNational Management Course who visited Planning Commission as part of their Inland Study Tour.

            Prof. Ahsan Iqbal said that initiation of CPEC was a watershed moment in the history of Pakistan that has elevated country’s status as potential regional economic power. He told the participants that Pakistan needs to benefit from opportunities being offered by CPEC and transform its economy to a modern industrial economy. He further said that lack of proper leadership and power politics has hindered Pakistan’s progress and therefore we must learn from our past mistakes.

            Minister briefed the participants that global political landscape is changing sharply and inward political approach is being followed by west in US, UK and Europe. In contrast, China is promoting regional and global connectivity across the Asia Pacific region as part of its One Belt One Road initiative. In the same vein, Pakistan’s Vision 2025 enables Pakistan to leverage its geo-strategic location and explore the economic options offered therein. Professor Iqbal said that CPEC is a fusion of Pakistan’s vision 2025 and One Built One Road initiative.

            Stressing the importance of Pakistan’s geographical location, he said that CPEC would physically and economically integrate Pakistan with China, Central Asian Republics and Eurasian region under the wider framework of One Belt One Road (OBOR) and Pakistan vision 2025. He noted that CPEC and One Built One Road would collectively transform and improve the lives of three billion people which rightly sets the context of this mega regional initiative as “Game Changer” in the region. He said that CPEC has changed world narrative about Pakistan. “The country which was ranked as most dangerous country of the world is now termed as emerging economy”. Pakistan is labeled as a safe haven for billion dollar Chinese investment, he added.

            Explaining the breakdown of Chinese investment under CPEC, he stated that the US$35 billion investment under Energy Portfolio is being done in Independent Power Producer’s (IPP) Mode which is being regulated by NEPRA. He further said that CPEC energy projects would generate 14-15000 megawatts of electricity which would help overcome the prevailing energy crisis. CPEC energy portfolio includes coal, hydel and renewable energy projects. The present government for the first time opted for utilization of untapped black gold to generate electricity on much cheaper rates which would support to rise in export, he added.

            He dispelled the impression that coal power plants would create environmental hazards, saying that Pakistan is using super critical modern technology which reduces hazardous emissions.   

            Professor Ahsan Iqbal urged the participating civil service officers to put in their best efforts in serving the country. He emphasized that officers should use their best abilities in policy formulation and implementation in their respective departments.

            On this occasion, Additional Secretary Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Mr. Zafar Hassan welcomed the participants and provided detailed answers to their questions. He told the participants that CPEC Long term plan sets the scope for development of agriculture and other sectors under CPEC framework. He further said that Board of Investment is preparing a comprehensive package for industries which would be furnished shortly.

            “The package would support to implement the plan of establishing special economic zones” he said, adding that all the provincial governments are fully onboard to make this sector a success story.

            Project Director CPEC, Mr. Hassan Daud Butt gave a detailed briefing on CPEC to participants. He apprised the participants that work in energy and infrastructure projects are being undertaken at a faster pace.He further said that CPEC Long Term Plan has been prepared after an extensive consultative process with all stake holders and it will be approved shortly.