ISLAMABAD: Planning, Development and Reform Minister Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar on Monday said China had decided to invest $10 billion in oil and gas sector, and $4 billion in the local steel sector under the next phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects.
Addressing the 3rd annual, two-day conference on CPEC consortium of universities, the minister said under the next phase of CPEC, the industrial base of the country would be expanded, which would also help increase exports.
China has total trade volume worth $4,000 billion with the world, while Pakistan’s trade volume was worth only $80 billion, Bakhtyar said. Khusro said the government wanted to add new sectors, including iron, mines and minerals, oil and gas, copper, pipe line, textiles, and auto mobile, to exploit the potential of trade through CPEC. The minister said China had decided to invest $10 billion in oil and gas sector, and $4 billion in the local steel sector through CPEC projects.
Also, $9 billion project was approved for railway line from Peshawar to Karachi for providing better transport facilities to the people, the minister informed. “The government had taken several important decisions to pave the way for the finalisation of the Gwadar Master Plan and preliminary design of ML-1 project, operationalisation of Gwadar Port and free zone.”
The planning minister said that the government had established the CPEC Authority to work as one window for all CPEC-related issues, which would hasten the pace and remove all bottlenecks for efficient implementation of the projects.
About CPEC, he said it would be a gateway for progress and prosperity for a bright future. He called 2019 a significant year for CPEC, “as several significant milestones were achieved or would be achieved by the end of the year.”
Further, the minister said that the Chinese government would invest $1 billion in the socioeconomic sector in two years, including higher education.
Pakistani students have been offered 20,000 scholarships, besides financing to build 1,000 small schools in different areas of the country. “We have broadened cooperation through CPEC in areas of socioeconomic development, agriculture, industries, infrastructure, energy and people to people contact through the universities for enhancing the multilateral relations between the two countries,” he said.
The minister said diagnostics study through concrete research was required for evaluating the different potential sectors to harmonise the socioeconomic development of both sides. “Academia and industrial sector link would be necessary for filling gaps and connecting both sides to shape future economic growth,” Bakhtyar added.
The recent visits of Prime Minister Imran Khan and his interaction with Chinese leadership had in true sense, broadened and enhanced the scope of future cooperation in diverse fields of agriculture, industrial and socioeconomic development. In the 9th JCC, China and Pakistan had decided to extend industrial, agriculture and infrastructural cooperation to initiate different projects in those areas, the planning minister informed.
Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing said that Universities Consortium on CPEC would play a vital role in the completion of this mega project.
He said CPEC provided a platform for cooperation to connect the society, institutions and people of both sides. “Academia and universities (must) play roll in cooperation and transfer of technology on both sides,” Jing urged.