CHINA-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a framework of regional connectivity and aims at economic regionalization in the globalized world. CPEC will not only help China and Pakistan but will have a positive impact on Iran, Afghanistan, India, Central Asian Republics, and the region.
It originated peace, development, and a win-win model for all of them. The development of geographical linkages having improved road, rail and air transportation system, the activity of higher volume of flow of trade and businesses, will result in well connected, an integrated region of shared destiny, harmony, and development.
CPEC is the hope of a better region of the future with peace, development, and growth of economy. Pakistan desires the participation of other countries to become part of the CPEC. The participation of other counties in the CPEC is positive thinking since it will enhance the stakes of regional countries in the project by reducing the rivalries.
Instead of joining, some countries especially India and its allies have made a lot of effort to create controversies. These countries also tried to influence the international financial institutions by disseminating narrative that CPEC being a debt trap project.
Pakistan is a sovereign state exercise the right to choose economic partners from around the globe on a mutually beneficial basis.
All related projects are being pursued as per the laws and regulations of Pakistan and through an institutional mechanism wherein transparency is a priority consideration.
Necessary/due diligence with all financial implications is being undertaken before the finalization of any projects. Pakistan’s debt sustainability strategy has an endorsement of International financial institutions.
CPEC projects under the overarching umbrella of Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a well thought out initiative involving mega development projects for the economic and social development of Pakistan.
These projects are intended to rapidly upgrade Pakistan’s required infrastructure and strengthen its economy by the construction of modern transportation networks, numerous energy projects, and special economic zones.
The projects completed so far in Phase-1 have already brought relief and started yielding dividends and tangible socio-economic benefits. CPEC projects will accelerate the pace of development in the country boosting economic growth and ensuring ultimate prosperity for the people of Pakistan.
However, the pace of implementation should further be accelerated and priority should be to operationalize the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The SEZs would enable setting up of joint ventures in manufacturing which would integrate the enterprises from both sides. It is important for Pakistani manufacturing industries to become part of the global value chain by partnering with Chinese companies.
The Chinese side is also keen to promote such relationships between businesses and manufacturing industries. It is important to focus on it during the new phase of CPEC. All relevant departments have been instructed to expedite the work on SEZs especially those at Rashakai, Dhabeji, and Faisalabad, where some work had already been done. The provision of electricity and gas to these projects should be a priority.
Collaboration in the agriculture sector is extremely important for the Pakistani economy especially after COVID 19 effects on international economy and need to be accelerated as the massive potential exists in the agriculture sector by modernizing and upgrading its various subsectors. Hopefully, a bilateral partnership between the two countries will be taken to new heights in the future.
After overcoming the immediate financial problem the government has made efforts to fast track the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects.
It is an understatement to say that our world has changed dramatically over the last few months. The novel coronavirus pandemic has resulted in an unimaginable loss to the global economy. Not only is the virus alarming but, the speed at which the economic challenges have emerged is intimidating. Governments are calibrating the response to these economic challenges and frequent strategic adjustments are being done.
However, a comprehensive short and long term policy would be required to coup with the new structural changes at national as well as at the international level for the revival of the economy.
Pakistan’s economy will be really affected by the unemployment of Overseas Pakistanis and resultantly reduced remittances.
The economic gaps that are emerging around the world from this virus indicate agricultural products will be more important in the future because no one could live without food whereas compromise could be made on industrial manufacturing things.
At the moment we need a roadmap for revival of industries as well as CPEC projects and a strategy to review the priorities keeping in view the future requirements. The CPEC plan should be reviewed immediately by both sides.
The agriculture sector should be given priority as more than 60% population is engaged in this sector which has been ignored in the past.
Perhaps this is a warning from God Almighty to review our policy towards agriculture to enhance productivity and protect agricultural land from housing societies.
For the execution of CPEC, both countries have already set up a ministerial-level Joint Cooperation Committee on CPEC Long Term Planning (JCC). CPEC should be reviewed by the Joint Cooperation Committee keeping in view the emerging effects of COVID-19 on the international economy.