China launches foreign direct investment strategy for setting up export industries in special economic zones under CPEC
ISLAMABAD – Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday chaired a review meeting on foreign investment in the industries being setup under the Special Economic Zones (SeZs) being developed under the multi-billion-dollar project of China, Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Federal Ministers Shaukat Fayyaz Tarin, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, Asad Umar, Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Ali Zaidi, Trade and Investment Adviser Abdul Razzaq Daud, Special Assistants Waqar Masood, Moeed Yousuf, Chairman CPEC Authority Lt. Gen. (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa and concerned senior officials attended the meeting. Governor SBP Raza Baqir joined through the video link.
The meeting was informed that the issues related to issuance of visas to the Chinese workers and officials coming under CPEC have been completely resolved while the Ministry of Interior is handling new cases on a daily-basis which has had a positive impact on the pace of CPEC projects.
A detailed briefing on the comprehensive strategy formulated by the Board of Investment for the establishment of export industries in the Special Economic Zones. The meeting was informed about the identification of potential foreign investors in various sectors in China and the incentives provided to them for direct foreign investment in Pakistan.
The meeting was also briefed on the establishment of assembly units of three major international mobile companies in Pakistan and their positive impact on local consumption and exports. A briefing was also given on the steps taken by CPEC Authority, Ministry of Industries and Production and Board of Investment to fast track the facilitation to the Chinese investors.
The Prime Minister termed the timely completion of CPEC as one of the top priorities of the government and stressed that the government was taking steps to promote investment in the export industry in the Special Economic Zone.
Exporting industries will provide employment, increase economic volume and ensure valuable foreign exchange, as well as access to the “Made in Pakistan” brand in global markets.
Chinese envoy, railways minister upbeat about early launch of ML-I project
Sources say some issues need to be resolved for project financing
ISLAMABAD: China on Wednesday hinted at an early launch of the Main Line-I project of Pakistan Railways – the biggest ever infrastructure project of the country’s history with an estimated cost of around $6.8 billion.
Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong called on Minister for Railways Azam Swati and discussed with him the progress made on the ML-I project. The ambassador said that ML-I project would take the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor to new heights and would showcase the depth of the deep-rooted bond between the two countries.
The project aims at reconstruction of the Peshawar-Karachi Railway track and enabling it to carry out trains to the speed limit of around 120 kilometers per hour. The project would be completed in three phases and would reduce Peshawar-Karachi traveling time significantly.
Once completed, the project would largely help the revival of freight trains which would later also help use the freight trains for communication of goods from Xinjiang to Gwadar Port.
According to the sources familiar with details of the meeting, significant progress has been made regarding ML-I as the two leaders discussed at length the issues related to the project. However, a source told Pakistan Today that while there are still some issues regarding the loan for the project, it is expected that the project will soon be formally launched after the approval of a loan from the Chinese banks.
The railway minister thanked the Chinese ambassador for his keen interest in the ML-I project.
The minister appreciated the services rendered by Ambassador Rong and agreed to launch the project on ML-1 at the earliest to further strengthen Pakistan-China friendship.
On the occasion, the Chinese ambassador said that ML-I would be the biggest project in the history of Pakistan and it would further strengthen Pakistan-China friendship. The ML-I project is of utmost importance to Pakistan Railways and the national economy and the Chinese partnership will change the map of railways in Pakistan, he added.
Swati said that Pakistan is grateful to the Chinese government for providing all possible assistance to Pakistan for this project.
CPEC promoting people-to-people ties between China, Pakistan, say youth leaders
Online event lasted for two hours and thirty minutes, including an hour-long question and answer session among the 50 participants
ISLAMABAD – Several young leaders from China and Pakistan on Friday said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would take people-to-people ties between the countries to next level.
A virtual webinar titled “Future leaders in shaping Pakistan-China relations” was held in commemoration of 70 years of Pakistan-China diplomatic relations under the aegis of Pakistan-China Institute.
The conference was arranged under the Friends of Silk Road initiative to understand and facilitate bilateral youth exchanges under the CPEC as it enters its second phase. This was the first-of-its-kind bilateral dialogue aimed at engaging youth of both countries.
An illustrious panel of eight speakers, including young parliamentary leaders, Senator Qurratul Ain Marri and Senator Dr Afnanullah Khan participated in the webinar.
The keynote speakers were divided into two sessions, which were moderated by Guancha Editor Qianli Liu, while opening remarks were given by Pakistan China Institute Executive Director Mustafa Hyder Sayed.
The theme of one session was “Pakistan-China Future Cooperation: A Perspective of Young Leaders” whereas the session two was themed as “People to People Connectivity: Role of media and culture”.
Talking about youth exchanges, Qianli said that youth development does not distinguish on race, ethnicity, and religion, and so it must be taken forward.
Mustafa in his opening remarks talked about how Friends of Silk Road initiative, started in February 2019, has brought prominent members of political parties, business groups, students, civil society, members of academia and media together to enhance connectivity among the people of two countries. He highlighted that these exchanges are a fundamental pillar of Pakistan-China relations, as the bond between the two countries is rooted in their people. Moreover, he highlighted the need for the youth to expand and enhance this beautiful and inherited bilateral strategic relationship for the next 70 years. While talking about CPEC, Mustafa said that this mammoth project will engineer social equity revolution in the country.
Dr Afnan quoted China President Xi Jinping, who had emphasised the need to promote the deepened integration of internet, big data, and artificial intelligence with the real economy, and added that Pakistan needs to learn from the Chinese model to harness big data for making better-informed decisions, such as enhancing GDP growth.
Bayazeed Kasi, advisor to PTI on CPEC affairs, spoke on role of youth in building a community of shared future. Recounting his interactions with youth in Balochistan, Kasi highlighted that Pakistan’s youth is more than eager to contribute to Pak-China iron brotherhood.
However, he highlighted that as 65 per cent of Pakistan’s population consists of youth, more opportunities need to be provided to them so they can contribute towards strengthening Pakistan-China relations. He highlighted that the academia needs to train and provide a platform to the youth so they are motivated to work for the welfare of people.
He concluded by saying, “An untrained worker can never make a building and so we need to train our youth on the lines of contributing towards Pakistan-China relations.”
Similarly, other participants also shed light on the diplomatic relations between the two countries and urged the youth to contribute more towards the relations.
The online event lasted for two hours and thirty minutes, including an hour-long question and answer session among the 50 participants.
Special Economic Zones at Nowshera, Faiasalabad to bring industrial revolution in Pakistan
CPEC projects in Gwadar in advanced stage
ISLAMABAD – With 400 industries, the Allama Iqbal Special Economic Zone, Faisalabad, is all set to attract local and foreign investors that will provide direct employment to 250,000 people.
An official at the China-Pakistan Economic Zone (CPEC) Authority has informed Pakistan Today that Allama Iqbal Special Economic Zone and Rashakai Special Economic Zone would take the CPEC to the next stage.
The official said the construction work is in full swing at the Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), a preferential special economic zone that will attract foreign investors and explore potential markets in different countries.
The government has directed the trade authorities of Pakistani missions in different countries to increase the volume of Pakistan’s exports through Pakistan.
“These industrial projects will prove to be game changers for Pakistan’s economy. Allama Iqbal Industrial City is being completed on priority basis,” the official said, adding that around 2,000 domestic and foreign investors have expressed keen interest in investing in the Rashkai Special Economic Zone.
“Construction work is in advanced stage in the Rashakai Special Economic Zone. This zone will be a milestone for the promotion of rapid industrialisation. This zone will cover one thousand acres of land,” the official said.
The official said the federal government is dividing the zone into three phases.
“The government will provide 210 MW of electricity in three phases. The government has earmarked Rs 1203 million for gas for this zone. It will also cover more than 400 industries, including garments and textile products, home appliances, general commercial goods, electronics and electrical appliances, automobiles and mechanical equipment,” the official added.
The official said there are several pharmaceutical companies in Nowshera, Mardan and Peshawar.
“The economic zone will include thousands of women who travel daily between their homes and workplaces. The RSA Special Economic Zone is actually a means of empowering local women,” the official added.
The official said the construction work is being done in three phases – 247 acres in the first phase, 355 acres in the second phase and 399 acres in the third phase.
“The zone will provide employment to 80% of the local population. The Rashakai Special Economic Zone is connected to all the provinces of Pakistan through airports, dry ports, railway stations, motorways and highways. The zone is located at the confluence of the five major districts of KP, Nowshera, Mardan and Swabi, Charsadda and Peshawar. The adjoining districts have fertile land, suitable for growing a variety of cash crops and vegetables,” he added.
He said the second phase of CPEC is related to public welfare in which dozens of projects are being worked on. “The next phase will see progress in four key areas, the first of which is industry, while the other areas include agriculture, social and economic development and Gwadar New City, CPEC Authority officials said.
The official said major progress is being made in the energy sector under C-Pac. Out of 22 approved energy projects, nine projects have been completed. According to the officials, when all the power projects under CPEC are completed, 17000 MW of electricity will be generated. “Pakistan will soon be self-sufficient in energy. These projects include the 1,320-megawatt coal-fired Sahiwal, Port Qasim and China Hub projects.
The 660-watt Engro Thar and 400-megawatt Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park projects have also been completed. Eight more 4,470-megawatt projects have entered the final stages of completion, besides five projects including Kohala, Thar and Azad Pattan while are in the pipeline. With the completion of the above projects, electricity will be exported including meeting the needs of the country. Special attention has been paid to energy projects in the CPEC projects,” the official added.
The official said the PTI government has widened the scope of CPEC so that all individuals and sectors can benefit from the project.
Gwadar Port and other projects
The official said Gwadar Port is now operational while the East Bay Expressway, which connects Gwadar with the Makran Coastal Highway, has been completed. The official said that a network of about 1100 kms of roads has been laid across the country under the CPEC, with 850 kms of roads under construction so far.
“The construction work on the main section of the Pakistan-China Economic Corridor from Dera Ismail Khan to Dera Ismail Khan has entered its final stage and so far NLC has completed the renovation work ensuring high quality of work,” the official said.
He said the total length of the four-lane western corridor is 285 km, which is divided into five different packages.
“Completion of work on Package One is expected first. The total length of Package One is 55 km which starts from York near Dera Ismail Khan and ends at Rahmani Khel. NLC has completed the infrastructure while maintaining international standards of construction work. Has completed all the work including road construction, two interchanges at York and Abdul Khel sites, six underpasses, four bridges, residential facilities and other construction works including toll plazas,” the official said.
He said as the motorway is being constructed on sandy and barren land, more than 1.5 lakh trees have been planted on both sides of the road keeping in view the shortage of trees. These trees have been planted under the ongoing “Green Pakistan” tree planting campaign at the national level. 55 will also be attached to the site of Dera Ismail Khan. The construction of the motorway will usher in a new era of social and economic activity in the region.