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‘Groundbreaking of Gwadar projects due next month’

By Our Correspondent
February 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Groundbreaking of a number of Gwadar projects as well as Rashakai special economic zone will be performed by next month, planning minister said on Thursday.

“Rashakai would be the first SEZ which will hit the ground in the coming six weeks,” Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar said, addressing the ‘Friends of Silk Road’ launch ceremony.

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,” the minister was quoted as saying in an official statement. “Similarly, Gwadar master plan would be finalised in the coming six weeks.”

Rashakai is one of the nine special economic zones, prioritised under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

Located in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the zone spreads over 1,000 acres, dedicated to fruit, food, packaging and textile industrial units. The planning minister further said formation of CPEC business forum will help to create an interface with local business community.

“(China’s) President Xi (Jinping) Belt and Road Plan is transforming this century wherein China Pakistan Economic Corridor is an iconic project,” he said. “CPEC is a project above the party or regional lines, which enjoy full consensus of different stakeholders.”

The minister said CPEC helped to overcome sever energy crises in the country. “Sufficient power availability is supporting to ensure investment in Pakistan.”

Bakhtyar said CPEC eighth joint cooperation committee decided to make 2019 “as year of industrialisation and now Pakistan is fully focusing on development of special economic zone”.

The minister said industrial cooperation would help the country overcoming its trade deficit.

“Government will facilitate investors with continuous policy support to create a pull factor,” he added. “China would push its leading enterprises to relocate to Pakistan.”

The planning minister said the government has expanded base of CPEC with a vision of “One Corridor, Many Doors”.

The minister said Chinese experts will visit Pakistan this month to promote cooperation in agriculture sector. He hailed Chinese Government for its financial support, amounting to one billion dollar grant to facilitate socioeconomic development.

Bakhtyar said agriculture sector is a major contributor of Pakistan’s GDP, 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.”

“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.”