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ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning, Development, and Special Initiatives Ahsan Iqbal has instructed the concerned ministry to clear the dues of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Independent Power Producers (IPPs).

Iqbal presided over the first Cabinet Committee on Chinese Investment Projects (CCoCIP). The meeting deliberated on the overdue issues concerning the CPEC IPPs, which pose a significant impediment to the financial closure of key projects.

Planning Minister Iqbal instructed the concerned ministry (Ministry of Power) to clear the dues to CPEC energy projects as soon as possible.

Minister Iqbal emphasised the importance of providing electricity to SEZs at an incentivized cost while ensuring the government does not incur losses. He directed the involvement of the Board of Directors to expedite the resolution of SEZ-related issues. A directive was issued to conduct a comparative study on the incentives offered to SEZs in regional countries to ascertain how Pakistan’s SEZs and Export Processing Groups can be made more attractive.

The planning minister instructed the Board of Investment (BOI) and Ministry of Commerce to explore the creation of export processing zones to attract industries from China to Pakistan, identifying potential products for relocation. The Ministry of Industry, Ministry of Commerce, Ministry of IT, Ministry of Petroleum, and Ministry of Manpower were tasked with preparing a Request for Proposal (RFP) outlining measures to boost Pakistan’s exports from $30 billion to $100 billion within the next seven years.

The focus was on developing a strategy to achieve an export surplus to meet both local and international demands. Strategies to ensure the security of Chinese nationals in Pakistan were also discussed, emphasizing the need for community awareness regarding their contributions to Pakistan’s development. The planning minister emphasised that security measures should instil confidence rather than fear.

He underscored the importance of employing modern technology, akin to developed nations, to monitor the activities of non-state actors and anti-national elements.

Furthermore, the minister highlighted the adverse effects of imposing undue hardships on citizens, as it creates a negative perception among foreign visitors. It was also noted that efforts are imperative to dispel the negative image of being a high-security risk nation globally.

Highlighting the recent visit of China’s Deputy Prime Minister at the 10th Anniversary of CPEC, the planning minister outlined five corridors for future collaboration as announced by the Deputy Prime Minister of China for CPEC Phase-2. The five corridors include the corridor of economic development, corridor of job creation, corridor of innovation, corridor of green energy, and corridor of inclusive regional development.

The meeting also discussed preparatory measures, including potential discussions at the Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) to finalise outcomes prior to the Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to China.

Planning Minister Iqbal directed line ministries to expedite the meetings of Joint Working Groups (JWGs) and finalise projects for presentation at the upcoming JCC meeting.

Minister Iqbal concluded the meeting by emphasising the need for a national agenda to identify Pakistan’s priorities in collaboration with China, ensuring fruitful discussions at the upcoming 13th JCC.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024


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