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Federal agriculture ministries were directed to prepare a roadmap within 10 days to boost exports of agri-products to China

Dated : 21 May 2018

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Mr. Ahsan Iqbal on Monday said that the provincial and federal agriculture ministries were directed to prepare a roadmap within 10 days to boost exports of agri-products to China.

"Agriculture has become an important sector of China pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), and Pakistan has immense potential to tap huge market of China in meat, dairy and other agriculture products," Ahsan Iqbal said while briefing media after chairing the 54th review meeting of CPEC here at a local hotel.

The meeting was attended by Ambassador of China to Pakistan, Yao Jing, Secretary Ministry of Planning, and high officials from federal, provincial, Gilgit Baltistan, and Azad Jammu and Kashmir governments.

The minister informed that the ministry was also establishing a task force comprising government and private sectors to prepare for showcasing the Pakistani products in an expo to be held in China in November.

He said Pakistan will showcase its products in the expo in a strong manner to attract maximum number of Chinese investors.

Ahsan Iqbal said that some projects under CPEC were delayed due to the fact that China was establishing a new department namely ChinaAid and the concessionary loans for these projects would now be considered by this department instead of Chinese Ministry of Commerce.

"In the meeting it was assured that after establishing of new department, work on all such projects would continue on fast track," the minister added. He said National Highway Authority was specifically directed to complete Mirpur-Muzafarabad-Mansehra road, Nokundi-Panjgur road and some other road projects by September this year.

Regarding establishment of Special Economic Zone in Islamabad, the minister informed that earlier, the government was facing problem to acquire land for the project in the federal capital, however now it was decided that the required land would be acquired near New Islamabad Airport.

"The CPEC rout would now be aligned in such a manner that the new site for federal SEZ would be connected with the rout," he remarked. Regarding Karachi Circular Railway, the minister said that ministry of railways and government of Sindh was directed to resolve all their matters within a month so that work on the project could be initiated as soon as possible.

The minister said the meeting also discussed the current status of Gwadar Master Plan and it was decided to complete the project within four months."We are planning to develop a smart and safe port city of Gwadar on international lines in which 100,000 acres of land would be allocated for industrial zone," he said adding the planning of Gwadar Master Plan was being made by keeping in view the growing population in the city which will increase from current 125,000 to over two million in 2050.

The minister said this was the last meeting during the tenure of current government and hoped that the pace of development under CPEC would continue in future as well. He specifically thanked media for playing its positive role in making the mega project a great success.

He also thanked business community who also supported the government in this regard. To a question, the minister said that the main issue of delay in project of up-gradation of Main Line-1 Railways was that the government of Pakistan had sought concessionary loans from China, however due to changing of agencies, the project was on hold.

"Now as the new department (ChinaAid) had been established, therefore we are hoping to receive the required concessionary loans for the project from China," he said adding meanwhile the federal government had also directed all the provinces to complete the internal security work.

To another question, the minister said that in order to further improve the incentive package for SEZs, the ministry had directed the Board of Investment to do further work in this regard.