CPEC second phase crucial for Pakistan’s economy and progress: Ahsan Iqbal

Islamabad: Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has said that the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was crucial for Pakistan’s economy and progress.

He maintained that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s recent visit to China was pivotal in strengthening the long-standing friendship and strategic alliance between Pakistan and China.

In a statement, he highlighted that significant agreements were reached to expedite the second phase of the CPEC, focusing on job creation, innovation, green energy, and inclusive regional development.

Iqbal noted that CPEC was now entering its second phase, emphasizing industrialization and the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) such as the Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Faisalabad.

He stressed that this phase was seen as crucial for Pakistan’s economic development, with five new corridors announced: the Corridor of Growth, Livelihood, Innovation, Green Corridor, and the Regional Cooperation Open Corridor.

The implementation of the 5Es framework—Export, Energy, Equity, E-Pakistan, and Environment—aims to foster growth, livelihood, innovation, green development, and regional cooperation, he added.

The minister said that creating a safe investment environment and ensuring a reliable energy supply are key to attracting foreign investors and setting the stage for an industrial revolution in Pakistan with China’s assistance.

Iqbal underlined the significant achievements of CPEC, including the installation of 8000 megawatts of electricity, which has significantly alleviated Pakistan’s load-shedding issue.

He said that CPEC had generated over 230,000 jobs and facilitated substantial progress in infrastructure, connectivity, and socio-economic projects across Pakistan.

The minister underscored China’s cooperation with Pakistan in various sectors, including mining, Information Technology, and energy.

He mentioned the government’s strong focus on fostering business-to-business investments to enhance collaboration between Pakistani and Chinese enterprises.

“More than 150 leading Pakistani businessmen accompanied the delegation and participated in one-on-one meetings with over 250 Chinese companies to explore bilateral trade and investment opportunities,” he said.

In the agricultural sector, efforts are underway to leverage Chinese technology to boost productivity and efficiency in Pakistan’s agriculture industry, he remarked.

Addressing security concerns for Chinese nationals working on projects in Pakistan, Iqbal assured that it remains a top priority for both countries. Measures have been taken to enhance security, including the implementation of Safe City projects for effective monitoring.

He reaffirmed the current government’s commitment to restoring confidence and resuming work on CPEC projects, including those in Gwadar.