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ISLAMABAD: Minister for Planning, Development, and Reform Makhdum Khsuro Bakhtyar Thursday said the groundbreaking of Rashakai Economic Zone is likely to be performed by next month.

The Rashakai Economic Zone is among one of the eight Special Economic Zones (SEZs) approved under the mega project of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CEPC).

Addressing the launching ceremony of Friends of Silk Road here, he said the CPEC SEZs would largely help Pakistan in bridging the huge trade gap.

He said the Chinese government is encouraging its companies to move their industries and business to Pakistan and the government is taking all possible measures to attract maximum foreign investment in the country.

He said formation of CPEC business forum would help to create an interface with business community of Pakistan.

Bakhtyar said Belt and Road Initiative is transforming this century wherein CPEC is an iconic project.

He said CPEC is a project above the party or regional lines which enjoys full consensus of different stakeholders.

He highlighted that CPEC has helped to overcome sever energy crises in the country. "Sufficient power availability is supporting to ensure investment in Pakistan," he added.

The minister said CPEC 8th Joint Cooperation Committee has decided to make 2019 as "year of industrialization" and now Pakistan is fully focusing on development of SEZs.

The government will facilitate investors with continuous policy support to create a "pull factor" he reiterated, adding China would "push" its leading enterprises to relocate in Pakistan.

he said the incumbent government has expanded base of CPEC with a vision "One Corridor, Many Doors". On these lines, Pakistan and China have signed agreements on agriculture cooperation, socioeconomic development and poverty alleviation during the prime minister's visit to China in November last year.

He informed that Chinese experts are visiting Pakistan this month in order to promote cooperation in this sector.

He hailed Chinese government for its financial support, amounting to one billion dollar grant in order to facilitate socioeconomic development.

The minister said agriculture sector is a major contributor of Pakistan's Gross Domestic Product which holds huge investment potentials in future. Pakistan and China have expedited cooperation in this sector by establishment of a full-fledged joint working group which is planned to meet next month.

Bakhtyar said the government attaches top priority to the development of Gwadar. Groundbreaking of a number of projects including Gwadar Power Plant, New International Airport, Vocational Institute and Hospital would be done in the coming few weeks, he informed. Similarly, Gwadar Master Plan would be finalized in the coming six weeks, he added.

He said Pakistan is fully committed to take CPEC to new heights. "We will participate with full preparation in the Belt and Road Forum, planned in the month of April," he vowed.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2019


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