PR No. 70
Islamabad: April 20, 2022

Federal Minister for Planning Development & Special Initiatives Professor Ahsan Iqbal has expressed serious concern over the sluggish progress on projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The minister showed displeasure while chairing a high level meeting to review the progress on projects related to CPEC on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Secretary PD&SI, Secretaries of various ministries and other relevant officials. Executive Director, CPEC, Qammar Sarwar Abbasi gave a briefing to the minister over the so far progress in executing the projects which is a game changer for the region. “How pathetic the delay on CPEC projects which is the potential game changer for the regions, said the minister while directed the official concerned to hold a meeting to review the progress at fortnight. There is zero progress on Industrial Zones of Port Qasim, Islamabad and Mirpur which is unfortunate. “When you don’t value your investors why they would come for investment" , lamented the minister. In 2017, the excitement around SEZs was so high that all major foreign direct investors were lining up to be a part of it. However, due to delay in projects Chinese investors moved away, said the minister. The minister noted that further delay in projects will not be acceptable while directed the officials to ensure the expedite the work. “How would you attract our investors when we fail to compete such important projects in time, the minister said while directed the concerned official to hold a separate meeting over SEZs so it could be streamlined. The minister also directed all Joint Working Groups JWG of CPEC to pursue their sector specific projects and initiate work on them immediately. As per initial plan, CPEC plan, the Special Economic Zones SEZs were supposed to be ready by 2020 but unfortunately, in last four years, there has been zero progress on SEZs, said the minister while adding that Interior Division should ensure the fool proof security of the Chinese in Pakistan. Duringthe briefing, the minister directed the officials to complete Zhob-Quetta Road which was initiated under the CPEC project. “Infrastructural development is less developed regions will contribute towards uplifting quality of life of the locals and generation of socioeconomic activity,” he added. Minister Iqbal stressd that all line ministries and departments to divert their immediate attention towards SEZs - In this regard, all potential foreign direct investors are to be engaged as well to hear their perspective and needs which can be accounted in SEZs design. The minister also directed the officials to address the bottlenecks, especially in Early Harvest Projects, including infrastructure and energy projects. There is a dire need of hour for developing quality human capital that can take benefit of socioeconomic opportunities, opening up due to CPEC, he added. He also added govt plans to train more than 100,000 young students in various field like Artificial intelligence IA, Oracle, Big Data and other fields. During the meeting he also directed HEC to extensively engage with industry to ensure that Pakistani graduates are acquiring education that is relevant to industrial needs.