CPEC toll income to be thrice the budget of Pakistan: BoI

LAHORE: Only the toll income generated by the route of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), after the completion of the project by 2030, will be three times of the national budget of Pakistan, an official said on Wednesday.

“It is on top of the business, economic, and employment creating activities of special economic zones (SEZs), and other industries,” Zulfiqar Ali, director Board of Investment (BoI) said while briefing Lahore Economic Journalist Association (LEJA) a local venue.

“The national investment agency is targeting to increase the foreign direct investment (FDI) to $250 billion for infrastructure development and other industrial activities by 2025, including joint industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China.”

Ali said that Pakistan had already started development of seven SEZs with Chinese cooperation out of which three each were being established in Sindh and Punjab and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP).

“Furthermore, nine more Priority SEZs have also ben approved for Rashakai KP, Dhabeji Thatta, Boston Economic Zones Balochistan, Allama Iqbal SEZ, Faisalabad, Maqpoondas Northern Are3as, Islamabad Capital Territory Model SEZ, Federal Government Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel land at Port Qasim, Mirpur Industrial Zone and Mohmand Marble City, Federally Administered Tribal Areas,” he said.

The BoI chief said CPEC is the second chance for the industrial and economic development of Pakistan after 1960s industrialisation drive. “The CPEC is as important for China as it is for Pakistan,” he saoid.

Ali added that through CPEC and Gwadar deep sea port, the distance between the Jaboti deep sea port of Africa will reduce to only 5 days. “That is the gateway to reach African markets for China that is heavily invested there,” he observed.

Moving ahead, he said the government’s recent efforts have resulted in a gradual increase in FDI. “The FDI in FY15 was only U$900 million, which increased to $2.3 billion in FY16 and further rose to $2.4 billion in FY17,” he said adding it was encouraging as the steps taken by the government were paying off in shape of FDI.

He told the journalists that as an outcome of government’s negotiation with the Chinese, early harvesting projects of energy sector had already started adding into the national grid. “It is expected that there will be no power outages in 2018 and by 2020 maximum energy will be added into the national grid by 2020,” Ali said.

Replying to a question, the BOI director dispelled the impression that the government was favoring Chinese investors by giving them special concessions. “For the BoI and the government of Pakistan, every foreign investor is equal. Besides, same level of returns on investment is available to the local ones,” he added.