ISLAMABAD: A government top official and expert on development has said that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can work as a stimulus for the economy to help it compete in regional and global markets.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP-BOIT) and former project director of CPEC, Dr Hassan Daud Butt has said Pakistan should focus more on those areas, where CPEC could work as a stimulus for the national economy to compete in regional and global supply chains and markets.
“We should also fast-track work on special economic zones and industrial development. Textile, mines and minerals sectors should be given priority in economic zones being built in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, tourism in Gilgit-Baltistan and coastal tourism in Balochistan. We also need to focus on maritime sector, particularly the blue economy. The government should ensure completion of the ongoing projects under CPEC within timeline,” he said during a recent media interview.
Similarly, Hassan Daud, said joint working group on science and technology should be made more proactive and efficient to strengthen information technology sector by bringing innovation.
He said Chinese support could come in handy in introducing Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics and blockchain in special technology zones because these modern technologies had now become a necessity in manufacturing sector.
“In agriculture sector, we can work on those products which are in good demand in China. We can start co-production with Chinese enterprises and export these products. Also, cooperation should be increased in research and development (R&D) in agriculture, science and technology and other sectors. For R&D, industry-academia linkages also need to be enhanced,” he added.
“By 2030, when timeline for long-term CPEC plan ends China will probably have 6G technology which will make transfer of online data very fast. So, Pakistan will have to increase capacity and productivity of its human resource and deliver in those areas which it lags behind with the Chinese help before the multi-billion-dollar projects concludes,” he highlighted.
“We also need to understand that CPEC can’t alone fix all the problems afflicting the business and trade sector. Pakistan will have to address its weaknesses on its own to go for big joint ventures with big partners like China,” he stressed.
To a question, the former CPEC project director said so far, all the stakeholders had played very positive role in addressing the challenges facing CPEC as more major projects were going to be complete in Gwadar during next few months.
He said although CPEC was moving forward smoothly, speed must be further enhanced.
In government-to-government projects, Pakistan now needs to focus on implementing the second phase of the optical fiber project to decrease reliance on submarine cable for digital connectivity. This project should be extended to Karachi on immediate basis, he noted.
Also, he added, rail and road infrastructure on western corridor should be developed fast.
The KP-BOIT chief executive officer emphasised that despite funding constraints, Pakistan should strive to execute the Main Line-1 (ML-1) project of Pakistan Railways to help resolve in a better way the several issues associated with trade, business and security.
He also called for further expansion of the Gwadar port to reap more benefits in future. He stressed the need for introducing new technologies in agriculture sector to modernise the corporate farming.