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New Govt Gears Up Efforts to Start Work on 5 New Economic Corridors

Dated : 13 March 2024

Soon after the formation of the elected government, progress on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), particularly the five new economic corridors, including the Corridor of Job Creation, Innovation, Green Energy, and Inclusive Regional Development, has been expedited. The newly-appointed Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, Professor Ahsan Iqbal, chaired an important meeting on Wednesday to initiate work on the five new corridors in the second phase of CPEC.

The meeting was attended by the Secretary Planning Awais Manzoor Sumra and senior officials of the CPEC Secretariat. During the meeting, a comprehensive briefing was given to the minister on the progress of CPEC projects, recommendations of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC), and working groups held last year. Additionally, the MoUs signed during the third Belt and Road Summit were also reviewed in the meeting.

The Minister was updated on key projects such as ML-1, Karakoram Highway (Phase 2) D.I Khan Zhob, Karachi Circular Railway (KCR), and others. While reviewing the projects, the Minister directed stakeholders to expedite their implementation process without further delay. "No further hindrance in the implementation of CPEC agreements will be tolerated," remarked the Minister, while instructing stakeholders to immediately coordinate with relevant ministries for the speedy implementation of the projects. Furthermore, the Minister directed stakeholders to submit pending PC-1s for various projects to expedite them effectively. Additionally, he instructed regular meetings on CPEC to properly monitor the projects.

It is noted that in 2022, the government revived CPEC under the leadership of then Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif, who visited China soon after taking office. Later, in 2023, the Chinese Vice Premier also visited Pakistan and acknowledged its efforts, restoring confidence between the two countries.

During the meeting, the Minister highlighted the importance of the Gwadar Port, a strategic project under CPEC, which is set to become a key maritime gateway connecting Pakistan with the rest of the world. The development of Gwadar Port and its associated free zone is expected to attract foreign investment, stimulate economic activities, and create job opportunities in the region. The Planning Minister further added that Gwadar is the best tourist destination, emphasizing the need for a solid and effective strategy to promote investment in Gwadar.

He also directed stakeholders to devise a strategy for increasing Pakistani exports in Chinese markets. "Immediate research should be conducted with the help of experts to determine which sectors Pakistan can promote its exports to China," remarked the Minister, while stressing the need to increase exports.