China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has practically proved a game-changer for Pakistan in terms of job creation and modernization of society.
Government documents have revealed that CPEC has created thousands of jobs at an early stage and it has the potential of creating hundreds of thousands of jobs in the future.
“Investment under CPEC is expected to be around $50.70 billion. This huge inflow of investment will generate massive economic activities and thereby employment opportunities. Apart from focusing on energy, infrastructure, and Gwadar projects, 9 Special Economic Zones will be established under the CPEC portfolio, which will create tremendous job opportunities and technological transformation,” government documents presented to Pakistan’s parliament have revealed.
Projects worth $12.47 billion in the transport and energy infrastructure have been carried out successfully and many are under implementation.
Asad Umar, federal minister for planning and development told National Assembly during National Assembly’s 33rd session that, in the second phase (2021-25), investments will mainly focus on industrialization, agriculture modernization, socio-economic development, and cooperation in Science & Technology has already taken off.
“The purpose is to reap the dividends of the investment made in the energy and transport infrastructure. Special Economic Zones (SEZs) development at Rashakai, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Allama Iqbal Industrial Zone in Faisalabad and Dhabeji, Thatta are in different stages of development,” the Federal Minister said.
He further said that funds have been allocated in the current PSDP (2020-21) for utility provision to these SEZs. In addition, the strategic project of Main Line-1 (ML-1) has also been planned in the second phase.
“The ML-1 project to upgrade and dualize the rail track from Peshawar to Karachi (1872 km) has a potential to create 174,000 direct jobs. Employment opportunities under CPEC would further go up over time,” he added.
Until July 8, 2021, twenty projects including Infrastructure (5) Energy (9) Gwadar (2), and Socio-economic Development (4), thirty-five projects of Infrastructure, Energy, Gwadar, Socio-economic and Industrial Cooperation are underway.
Analysts and geopolitical experts stressed the need to expand CPEC’s operations to central Asian states and Iran.
As suggested by the experts, Pakistan and China are already working on transforming CPEC into a tool of regional connectivity.
China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority Chairman Lt-Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa announced last week that Iran’s trade through the Gwadar Port would start very soon, as work in this regard was in progress.
“The Ramadan-Gabd crossing point near Gwadar is active and fully functional now, fencing work with Pakistan-Iran border is going on rapidly and new border markets are being established at the crossing points,” State-run Associated Press of Pakistan quoted him as saying.
Bajwa said after the completion of the development works of Gwadar Port and the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone, Prime Minister Imran Khan would perform the groundbreaking of the second phase of the zone.
“Compared with the first phase, which comprised of 60 acres of land, the second phase will be a huge project, comprising of 2,200 acres of land,” he said. “Some 46 enterprises are engaged in the Free Zone Phase-I, while 12 factories are being established, out of which three are completed.”
It is worth mentioning that on June 2, 2021, Prime Minister Imran Khan formally invited Tajikistan to avail facilities of the Pakistan seaports and the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) during his talks with the visiting Tajik President, Emomali Rahmon.
At a joint news conference, the prime minister reiterated Pakistan’s support for Tajikistan’s membership of the Quadrilateral Traffic-in-Transit Agreement (QTTA). He also said that Pakistan was ready to sell arms to Tajikistan.
Officials in Pakistan said Pakistan was holding talks with Tajikistan in sorting out possibilities of inclusion of Tajikistan in CPEC.
Source: World Trade Times