ISLAMABAD, March 27, 2017: Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal has inaugurated China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Center of Excellence in Islamabad on Monday.
Addressing the inaugural ceremony, Ahsan Iqbal said it is a very special day when dream is coming true by establishing a unique institute that would undertake research on the future of Pakistan.
“Today is the era of knowledge revolution and we are making efforts to develop CPEC in knowledge frontiers with a basic aim to focus on goal oriented research with relevance to the future and development of the country”, he remarked.
He said Centre of Excellence will provide evidence based policy suggestions to extract maximum benefits out of CPEC, serving as guiding star for both our policy makers and business class.
“It will integrate and coordinate the institutions engaged in implementing CPEC by ensuring excellent research, utilizing modern techniques to help us in policy making and achieving our goal of sustainable growth and development”, said Ahsan Iqbal.
He said the center is aimed at research in six key areas of CPEC including the socio-economic impact of the project, the trade and industry cooperation, regional connectivity, financial integration, urban development and job opportunities created by the project.
Quoting famous Chinese proverb "When the wind of change blows, some build walls while others build windmills, Minister Ahsan Iqbal said that CPEC is the wind mill being built which has transformed Pakistan’s economic trajectory. He said some countries were feeling insecure due to China's unprecedented economic development, Pakistan instead considered it as a great opportunity.
“CPEC is an economic Big Bang which turned Pakistan’s profile from a most dangerous country to a safe haven for billion dollars of Chinese investment”, he added.
Ahsan Iqbal said 2018 will be the year of completion of many projects under the CPEC, enabling us to overcome energy shortage by generating electricity from multifarious sources.
“About 11000 Megawatt would be injected into the system from coal, hydel and renewable energy sources just in three years, where more than 50 percent would be contributed from CPEC projects”, he added, saying it is a highest achievement made by this government, comparing previous 67 years where only 16000 Megawatt electricity was generated.
He hoped that end of the power shortage, a main bottleneck to economic growth, would lead to boom in industrial sector.
“The industry in Pakistan, which suffered badly due to acute power shortage, has witnessed a major change by receiving uninterrupted power supply”, Minister added.
He said under CPEC, biggest and historic development in transport infrastructure sector is being undertaken which would open new economic hubs in less developed and remote part of the country. Besides road project on main routes, 6th JCC has approved link roads in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Jammu Kashmir and Balochistan which would help in linkages of these less developed areas with urban center, paving ways for rapid economic growth, he added.
He said the country`s progress is being acclaimed internationally and it is being termed the fastest Muslim economy of the world but some cynics of CPEC are making straw man arguments to attract attention.
Minister has turned down the ill-designed criticism, saying that those who claim that China would prove as a next East India Company is putting their shallow arguments. “Pak-China relationship existed more than 70 years and now after CPEC, the friendship is much higher than the stars. So why China would erode this good-will on the cost of money” Minister questioned.
He dispelled the impression that CPEC would create burden and negatively impact industrial sector, saying that it will restart the Pakistan’s export engine. “We should work closely with Chinese to learn innovative techniques and quality. Industry cooperation would double the capacity of Pakistani enterprises”.
Chinese Ambassador, Sun Weidong, while speaking on the occasion, said that supporting Pakistan's economic sector is an important manifestation of the CPEC. He said CPEC aimed to modernize Pakistan with four pillars: Energy- infrastructure- state of the art Gawadar port and Industrialization.
He hoped that around 11000MW electricity would be generated as a result of early harvest energy projects under CPEC portfolio.
Ambassador referred to positive reports on Pakistan by International Financial Institutions and publications to note economic turnaround of Pakistan.
He further said that CPEC Centre of Excellence is going to be an interface that will engage with other research institutions and think tanks with aim to provide technical input for identifying more potential areas for Cino-Pak multi-sectoral cooperation.
Ambassador extended his appreciation to the Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal on leading the process of making CPEC from a dream into reality.