QUETTA: In order to address Balochistan’s grievances over its meagre share in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Finance Minister Asad Umar, on his visit to Quetta on Monday, vowed to end any injustice and foster industrialisation in the province, which is imperative to end poverty.
“In the second phase of CPEC, we have decided to pay all attention to industrialisation in Balochistan, for which we need help from the private sector, and the federal government is actively working to give Balochistan its due share in CPEC,” said the finance minister while visiting the Quetta Chamber of Commerce and Industry (QCCI).
He said they had been working to introduce new effective policies for the revival of country’s industries and agriculture, which were badly affected during the previous government’s tenure. He pointed out that the Gwadar Export Processing Zone and Special Economic Zone were being built in Gwadar.
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While sharing his views on Balochistan government’s recent stance on CPEC, Umar said the federal government was working sincerely to give Balochistan its due share in CPEC and steps were being taken to end poverty in the province.
“Pakistan seeks trade with all countries in the region, unfortunately, India didn’t reply positively to the friendship offer. I have directed the authorities concerned to prepare a report on Pak-Iran joint banking and bilateral trade.”
Taking a jab at previous governments, Umar said, “Our predecessors have destroyed all sectors due to their personal benefits; the country has plunged into the worst financial crisis, but we have embarked on the revival of industries through new policies.”
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“A new Special Economic Zone will be established in Balochistan under the Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) and discussions are under way for the governing body, because we believe Balochistan has the ability of taking its own decisions,” he added.
Speaking on the occasion, QCCI President Juma Khan Badezai said, “The federal government should take immediate steps to address the issues faced by local traders as we believe in legal trade and remain opposed to all illicit trade activities.” He said unfortunately the centre neglected Balochistan. The finance minister assured businessmen that their issues would be resolved on a priority basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 25th, 2018.
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