LAHORE: Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said on Tuesday that challenges on the economic front are one of the most prevailing global problems, adding that Pakistan is also passing through a crucial moment in its economic history.
“However, China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is opening up a new horizon of development to the world and it is a matter of great pleasure that massive investments under CPEC are further strengthening Pak-China friendship,” Iqbal said while talking with media at a dinner of the 3rd CAC Pakistan Summit and Expo.
Iqbal said the world is going through an age of innovation and disruption where changes took place frequently, adding that Pakistan needs to develop itself as per requirements of the world because the nature of today’s challenges is global and challenges have no boundaries.
“Today, we need to promote trade with the international community instead of relying on loans for economic development,” he stated. “The country’s economy had collapsed in 2013 when no one was ready to invest in Pakistan, but now it is making progress.”
Highlighting progress on the energy front, Iqbal said power generation had been enhanced by 7,000MW with another 3,000MW to be incorporated into the system soon. “Consistency in economic policies is indispensable for the progress of the country,” Punjab Governor Raqfiq Rajwana said, while predicting that Asia would make up 50% of the global economy by 2025.
Iqbal, who is also Minister for Planning and Development, urged the business community to capitalise on business opportunities under CPEC, adding that infrastructural improvement will encourage greenfield industrial set-ups, with a focus on value-additive industries that will provide an effective platform for competitive trade in the global economy.
He said Pakistan of today is different from that of 2013 when economy was badly deteriorated, local industries were almost non-existent and 18-20 hour load-shedding was the order of the day.
He said that CPEC has enabled Pakistan to overcome critical bottlenecks to energy and transport infrastructure, while highlighting China as the best example and success story of Special Economic Zones (SEZs).
The minister said that enemies of Pakistan could not digest development in the country so they were targeting its economy, peace and stability to stop its progress. He was of the view that a growth target of over 6.2% could have been easily achieved given that a peaceful and conducive environment prevailed in the country.
Iqbal said that renowned rating agencies including WBC said that if Pakistan continued its current pace of growth, it would be included in the top economies of the world. “If we want to secure the youth’s future we have to promote our growth rate,” he said. Iqbal said that so far as many as 7000MW electricity has been added.
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Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2017.