CPEC a monumental opportunity for Pakistan’s economic landscape, says Planning Minister in his first day in office

Islamabad: On the very first day in office, Pakistani Federal Minister for Planning and Development Ahsan Iqbal on Tuesday said the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), is a monumental opportunity for Pakistan’s economic landscape.

Upon assuming office as the Federal Minister for Planning and Development for the fourth time, Ahsan Iqbal was greeted warmly by the senior officers and staff of the ministry.

In a conversation with the journalists, Iqbal reflected on the recurring challenge of political instability, which had hindered the fruition of their plans in previous tenures.

He emphasized the indispensable need for policy continuity, stressing that no nation can advance without it.

“As we step into an era profoundly influenced by digital technology, Iqbal underscored the imperative of integrating technology across all sectors to propel growth and efficiency,” he added.

Iqbal highlighted the restored confidence of China in CPEC under the coalition government, emphasizing their readiness to embark on five new corridors with China as part of the project.

“The substantial Chinese investment of US $25 billion in the initial phase of CPEC is a testament to the potential,” he stated.

However, he candidly acknowledged the economic challenges Pakistan faces, pointing out the nation’s heavy reliance on loans to sustain its budgetary requirements.

He shed light on the staggering figure of over Pakistani Rs 7.5 trillion needed for loan repayments, in addition to the ongoing expenses such as salaries, pensions, and subsidies, all funded through borrowing.

Expressing concern, Iqbal emphasized the unsustainability of this economic model, cautioning against the burden of continuous debt accumulation.

Earlier in Monday, President Asif Ali Zardari administered the oath of office to the 19-member federal cabinet, an event graced by the presence of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other dignitaries. The oath-taking ceremony, held at the President‘s House, marked a significant step in the formation of the new government, underscoring the collective responsibility to navigate the economic challenges ahead.