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February 17, 2021

Model economic zone to be set up under CPEC: minister

Lahore

February 17, 2021

LAHORE:A model economic zone will be set up under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) to keep the overseas Pakistani and Chinese investors’ interests while priority will be given to agriculture and irrigation projects in the second phase of CPEC.

This was stated by Punjab Finance Minister Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht presiding over the second meeting of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC Projects at the Planning and Development Board here Tuesday. Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa also attended the meeting.

The minister instructed imparting the technical training for local labour in accordance with need and demand of the Chinese partner companies for employment generation. Further, he instructed that services of Tevta institutions affiliated with NEVTAC should be utilised for technical training of the local human resource instead of relying on Chinese investment. This will also increase the Tevta capacity.

The minister asked reviewing the rules and regulations in accordance with the recommendations of the CPEC Joint Working Groups for starting business in the Special Economic Zones. The federal government will address issues related to gas and electricity supply in economic zones on a priority basis, he said.

There is an increase in investment and consumption of local labour in the province. In order to increase investment, it is necessary to ensure the provision of facilities as per the needs of the partners. Asim Saleem Bajwa informed the meeting that Chinese companies are ready to invest in economic zones and agriculture sector through government partnership under second phase of CPEC. In order to increase the interest of Chinese investors, it is necessary for us to introduce business models according to the needs of investors in our industrial zones, he remarked.

He said the livestock and irrigation projects would also be included in the second phase of the CPEC. He said that the second phase of CPEC is a bigger challenge than the first phase as investment in it was the most important.

The provincial minister directed the secretary industry to compile a complete record of all Tevta institutions with a detailed briefing on irrigation and agriculture projects at the next meeting to identify land for the Special Model Economic Zone under the CPEC.

Apart from agricultural lands, Auqaf department lands should also be identified for creation of the Special Model Economic Zones. The provincial minister thanked the chairman for coming to Lahore to attend the meeting of CPEC Authority and termed it beneficial for CPEC projects.

Other participants in the meeting included Provincial Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chairman Planning and Development Board and secretaries of all concerned departments.