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CPEC: beyond infrastructure

Recently, I came across a very interesting research undertaken by a private sector firm that ranked the 67 Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) countries to assess their attractiveness for investment and infrastructure. The research was based on publicly available data from the IMF, World Bank, UNDP and Transparency International.

On this Belt and Road Index, Pakistan was ranked the 11th least attractive country. The index was based on economic potential, demographic advantage, infrastructure development, institutional effectiveness, market accessibility and resilience to natural disasters. Out of the six parameters, Pakistan performed the worst on institutional effectiveness, with a score that was less than half of India’s and lowest within South Asia, surpassing only that of Afghanistan.

The results are not surprising and resonate rather well with data from other sources as well as with anecdotal evidence. A few weeks ago, I met an investor, who has set up a multi-million dollar manufacturing plant in Pakistan on an industrial plot in a government-sponsored industrial estate. To his dismay, the land title still is in the name of private individuals and despite knocking on various doors he has not had any luck in the last two years in transferring the title in his name, despite payment of all dues. In the meanwhile, his lenders are pushing for ownership record before he can access credit.

This is one of countless such examples. Investors keep on complaining about bureaucratic red tape, rent seeking by regulatory agencies and frequently changing policies leading to unforeseen costs.

About $46 billion worth of infrastructure projects have been committed under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). These have to be completed within 10 years or so. For a country with $300 billion GDP, it translates into additional 1 to 1.5% of GDP every year and provides the much needed capital to build north-south highways to facilitate trade and construct power plants to help overcome years of load-shedding.

Infrastructure development and growth go hand in hand. Ensuring uninterrupted supply of energy, building state-of-the-art road, rail and transport infrastructure and providing reliable urban services pave the way for future investments and growth. If, however, the infrastructure stock is not maintained and new investments are not made at the requisite level, it may lead to power shortages and transmission losses, congested roads prolonging travel time and poor quality infrastructure services discouraging investors to relocate, thereby straining growth prospects.

But the real question is whether good infrastructure is sufficient to attract investment. As per World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, the five most problematic factors for doing business in Pakistan are corruption, tax rates, government instability, crime and inefficient government bureaucracy. Availability of infrastructure comes way lower in the list. This means that without addressing these soft yet potent issues, no amount of investment in hard infrastructure can convince the investors to invest.

The stories of Rajapaksa Airport and Hambantota Port in Sri Lanka have been frequently quoted by critics of CPEC and BRI, as examples of misplaced priorities and building expensive infrastructure without demand. With ten times more population than Sri Lanka and a strategically located port, Pakistan does not face the same risk of low demand. If anything, the CPEC road infrastructure can provide a very busy transit and trade route in future. Its special economic zones can host manufacturers that wish to relocate closer to their markets and the power plants can provide energy for the new industries. This is where the real returns on CPEC have to be expected.

This however would require a lot of homework domestically in addressing the softer issues. Without an enabling business environment, Pakistan can never achieve the dream of prosperity that has been promised under CPEC. And this would require fixing governance. Sooner or later, we’ll have to realise that there are no shortcuts to reform.

SOURCE:https://tribune.com.pk/story/1738036/6-cpec-beyond-infrastructure/

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CPEC: A momentum for prosperity

In a world defined by unexpected conflicts, CPEC and BRI have the potential to push these trajectories into altogether different directions. For Pakistan it will mean trading conflict and insecurity for peace and prosperity, argues the Senate’s Leader of the Opposition, Sherry Rehman.

The CPEC Summit 2018 was an important event with a distinguished group of thought leaders. In a conference full of unconventional wisdoms and cutting edge info, a lower‑riparian speaker’s job was quite unenviable. In more ways than one, the summit signalled Pakistan’s commitment to change and growth. What it signalled bang in the middle of election year was Pakistan’s agreement across the board on one thing: no one wants to be left out of this momentum.

The first thing that came to mind at a big‑ticket CPEC conference in Pakistan was that we are currently standing at a nodal pivot in Pakistan and China’s long‑established special relationship; but what also came to mind is that we are at an axial point where the world is rapidly turning in a re‑calibration of its priorities. Amidst the noise of dangerous new global conflicts that threaten the peace and prosperity of many nations, and fires that engulf entire regions, CPEC and BRI signal another engine moving relentlessly on, in entirely another direction of growth and peace. We can literally hear the wheels of a bold new order shift its shape under our feet.

We can also see the pulsation of the pointless regional neuralgia this partnership is giving some. My advice to them is that, they really shouldn’t worry, but instead join this enterprise.

It is truly the Asian Century. By linking the Atlantic to the Pacific through BRI, President Xi Jinping’s China is poised to redefine the global economic order as we know it, and change the way we think about the world. As the tracks for new global connectivity reframe human enterprise, with Gwadar as its launching pad, and Malacca not the only option, China becomes a two‑ocean power. This is both commercially relevant and strategically significant. As a key part of the constitution of the Peoples Republic, One Belt One Road (OBOR) has now cemented its place in the wheelworks of China’s long‑term vision of progress through economic partnerships. It is a projection of soft power unparalleled in the 21st century.

All this is relevant to Pakistan obviously in ways no other grand plan for exporting surplus was. Today, as we see China’s investments in Pakistan materialising through CPEC, I am clear that a major part of its success is powered by the groundwork and foundation PPP’s government provided.

Under [the then] President Zardari’s leadership, rooted in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s revolutionary vision to share the Chinese Communist Party’s goals, and PM Benazir Bhutto’s brilliant championing of this joint vision, Pakistan’s relationship with China has gone into another dimension altogether. President Zardari’s vision was based on a grand idea for pivoting to the East at a time when the rest of the world was still busy calling on other capitals. This vision is shared and will be carried on forward by PPP under Chairman Bilawal Bhutto‑Zardari’s leadership.

PPP understood the grand Chinese dream well. Providing state support and strategic access to our warm waters was part of the vision. Therefore, we knew that Chinese development stewardship for Gwadar Port was pivotal to the CPEC becoming a reality.

CPEC has already created 60,000 jobs and Pakistanis would likely be able to make the most of these opportunities. We need trained manpower though.

Over the years, all of us have worked closely with Chinese officials and investors in facilitating projects, people‑to‑people relationships, cultural exchanges, and, most importantly, ensuring the security of everyone involved in CPEC projects. As we speak, 2,700 students from Pakistan were granted scholarships to study in China with thousands already learning Mandarin across the country. This kind of exchange is as important as big‑scale projects. Because building trust between peoples is what binds countries together in ties that sustain the tests of time, in all weathers and all storms.

As the first container ship sailed into Gwadar in March, CPEC has already started making an impact in all provinces in order to bring prosperity. We have a long way to go in providing safe drinking water and schools to the people of Gwadar, but I am glad to see that social responsibility and signature projects are beginning to complement each other.

This must be something we work on together as early projects start harvesting into reality. Everywhere there is an industrial park or SEZ, a port or energy project, there should be a groundswell of children going to schools, functioning healthcare units and waste‑to‑ energy plants, which China is so good at doing at every level. The responsibility for this lies with Pakistan, and with the provinces too, but I urge our Chinese friends to double their interest and investment in social development as they are doing already in partnership with UNDP in Balochistan.

We are proud to say that the forward‑looking government of Sindh has also been leading the way in renewable energy projects to bring prosperity. Sindh province contributes 930 megawatts of wind energy to the national grid with the help of CPEC projects. In line with this, the federal government should allow the use of renewable energy in Sindh.

As part of our history of joint cooperation, PPP looks forward to continuing to work closely with local and Chinese stakeholders in achieving our common goals and interests for the betterment of our people and the region. Two ports are now operating in their optimal capacities and other commercial ports, including the important Keti Bunder, are under development in partnership with the Chinese.

But CPEC is not a one‑party or one‑province ambition. It is a national project that goes beyond infrastructural development and we will stand by all efforts to create consensus and operationalise this grand ambition. Consensus‑building among political parties and provinces is crucial as the windfall from this venture can change the game for Pakistan.

Pakistan is not equivocal about its relationship with China. Right now, as we see promises turning into projects, the widespread public ownership of the ‘feel‑ good’ factor that China generates in Pakistan continues as do questions about equity transparency spread. With a multi‑billion dollar investment like CPEC, responsibilities and obligations for both Pakistan and China double. Transparency and equitability are the foundations for which an initiative with a scale as grand as CPEC must be built on.

As CPEC rolls out in Pakistan, there are three obvious areas to focus on: economy, environment and security.

It is undeniable that as an infrastructure and investment pipeline, CPEC has the potential of taking Pakistan into a quantum leap of prosperity and peace. It is believed that Chinese investment can stimulate a 15pc increase in Pakistan’s GDP by 2030 and would likely create over a million jobs across multiple sectors in Pakistan which will in return bring prosperity. While still in its very early stages, CPEC has already created 60,000 jobs and we hope that Pakistanis would be able to capitalise on this new job market. We need more Pakistanis trained to hold down these jobs.

However, development does not start and end at infrastructure and economic growth. We must also look into tech‑knowledge sharing and collaborations as we enter the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The development of regional value chains, a phenomenon that has entirely reshaped global trade in recent decades, is a particularly exciting prospect. Pakistan is well‑positioned to gain from this shift and CPEC is the perfect opportunity to bring advanced manufacturing and production practices to the country.

We have a responsibility to empower our youth and Pakistan can be a powerhouse of opportunities. Almost 60pc of Pakistan’s population is under the age of 30, making it the country’s most important demographic. To put that in context, three out of five Pakistanis are under the age of 30, full of hope and energy, but most without real employment prospects. Close to 60pc of them are currently in unstable or underpaying jobs and about 35pc are working in unpaid jobs. CPEC has given the millions of young people who enter the workforce every year a renewed hope and prosperity. We have a joint task to find ways in which we can tap into the potential of Pakistan’s youth and expand their growth, and look at ways to accelerate youth employment and skill training and to bring prosperity to this region. I look forward to working with the Chinese leadership on ensuring that more jobs and skills are created for Pakistanis.

As CPEC grows, Pakistan and China must look into a broader range of ventures and issues where we can cooperate and work on, one of which is environmental protection and climate change. Pakistan currently is the 7th most vulnerable country in the world to climate change. Pakistan’s carbon emissions are expected to double in two years and surge 14 times by 2050, which is way more than the global average. Given my travels in China, I know that the People’s Republic is no stranger to challenges brought about by climate change.

The enormous industrial investments and projects that will come with CPEC can be amplified if we prioritise creating a clean energy economy. I can only hope that we safeguard the future of the generations to come and that what we do today, in the name of progress, does not create new challenges for them. We hope that the Chinese government can bring to Pakistan the clean energy initiatives they have strictly enforced at home. We are old friends, and whom else can you ask for more, except from friends. Together, we must resolve to move towards eco‑friendly, sustainable and renewable energy sources.

Let me reiterate, if there is one thing that Pakistanis agree on, it is CPEC’s vision of human security, economic cooperation, reform and joint prosperity. As an economic bloc, South Asia will be one of the wealthiest regions in the world, with markets and growth vectors second only to China. At the same time, the region is also forecast for growing inequality, land hunger, poverty‑based migrations, water stress, and social deficits. These trends can be divisive in a region already crackling with tensions.

We believe that CPEC will create a new engine for reinvigorating innovation and ingenuity not just in both the countries but for the region as well. It is this cooperation, innovation and ingenuity that will drive the project of peace in a world divided by inequities, conflicts and social disorder.

The CPEC Summit once again highlighted the Chinese government’s unfaltering cooperation, support and friendship to the people of Pakistan. The future really does lie in peace through economic partnerships. Let us hope our roadmaps take our young people into a brighter, energised, connected millennium.

The writer is Leader of the Opposition, Senate of Pakistan.

SOURCE: https://www.dawn.com/news/1409514

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Gwadar opens new avenues of business, jobs

ISLAMABAD: Once an ignored tiny indolent fishing town located at the Arabian Sea in Balochistan, Gwadar has now witnessed a wave of development projects that is opening new avenues of jobs and business opportunities for locals and will lay a strong infrastructural foundation for the country’s future.

From 2013, the deep-water port is making its new identity. It has become fully functional since late 2016. Its free zone first phase and business centre have been constructed within an astonishing six months earlier this year and embraced its first liner in March. Now, people in the remote Gwadar could also enjoy speedy 4G mobile connection to interact with the rest of the world.

4G services launched in Gwadar

According to the port operator China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC), some 20 companies in different businesses have already joined the Gwadar free zone with direct investment of 3.0 billion Chinese yuan, or some $460 million. The annual output could reach more than 5.0 billion yuan after full operation of the enterprises.

Abdul Ghaffar, owner of a grocery shop and a restaurant near Gwadar port area, enjoys the development of the port.

“Around 150 people come to my restaurant for lunch and as many for dinner. In the past, my sale was very low, but now my earning has become better and I have also extended my business. In the past, I used to open my shop and restaurant occasionally when the port opened in 2008, but now I don’t close my shop because work is in progress continuously.”

MoU inked to address water shortage in Gwadar

Ghaffar, who came to Gwadar for a better future from Quetta in 2008, said, “I have seen a big change here. There was nothing in this area, but now several buildings have been built all around. Whenever there was rain, all ways were blocked here, but now things have changed. They (Chinese) have made a big thing from nothing.”

Ghaffar is an early bird who came to Gwadar. Now, thousands of people have migrated from across the country to Gwadar to grab emerging business and jobs opportunities since the launch of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor. Gwadar’s population has increased from some 85,000 in 2007 to 138,000 currently. The amount of mobile SIM cards issued in the area also jumped from about 100,000 chips to over 200,000.

Rahab Ali Meerani is a laborer who travelled some 1,080 kilometres from Shikarpur district in southern Sindh province to work on a project in Gwadar port.

Chinese Red Cross medical team to arrive soon

“I came here because in our area wages are not as high as in Gwadar.”

He added, “Chinese companies are coming to Pakistan and starting projects which are bringing a great support to poor people. Now, the poverty is being eliminated.”

“There was a lot of unemployment in Gwadar, there was only fishing work, which is not a regular job. Now people are getting a variety of jobs and they are very happy,” said Muhammad Ibrahim, a worker in Gwadar, adding, “I am very happy because this area is being developed. Some people say there is no development, but actually, development is taking place.”

Ibrahim has started learning the Chinese language to advance his contacts with Chinese people.

Gwadar ignites spark for science, discovery

Gwadar’s local people are also feeling the development impetus triggered by the rapidly developing port, construction of new roads, laying of new sewerage lines, establishment and upgrading of educational institutions and hospitals, construction of a new airport and installation of water purification plants in Gwadar due to CPEC.

Javed Mehmood, a local fisherman whose family is in the fishing business for almost one century, highlighted several development projects in Gwadar and said that “the port has developed, roads are being constructed, a road has linked Gwadar with China. First, we had only one hospital named Civil Hospital, now another hospital has been established.”

“Three people from my area now have got jobs at the port, possibly around two to three people from every area got jobs,” said Mehmood, who wished that all people in Gwadar get employed.

Gwadar port aims to become new Dubai

Liaqat Muhammad, who works in a fish preservation unit, also enjoys the development as their business has multiplied after the construction of a road linking Gwadar with Karachi, the country’s southern port city.

“Now, the road infrastructure has improved and we can send fresh fish outside. The distance we covered in 24 hours in the past, can be covered in six to seven hours now,” Muhammad added.

Muhammad couldn’t have a chance to visit the newly constructed port area, but he has watched many videos related to the port development and activities.

“A lot of development works are taking place here. Imports and exports are in progress at the port, expo centre has started. I have not visited the port yet, but I have seen the development through videos on my mobile,” said Muhammad.

CPEC starts bearing fruit for people

“In one or two years, our fish containers will be exported from the Gwadar port.”

Availability of the potable water is a common issue in Gwadar, and almost every person, whom Xinhua talked to, pinned his hope on China to solve their water issue. And the COPHC has signed a contract with the Balochistan government to provide clean drinking water to Gwadar.

Zulfiqar Bajwa, a tourist who came to Gwadar with his family from Karachi, told Xinhua, “I have come here to see the port because international focus is on it. As we have seen it, it will be one of the biggest ports in the world.”

“The future of our generations depends on it (Gwadar). When it will be completed, Pakistan’s status will increase in the world. It will bring great benefits to the Pakistani nation through industrialization,” said Bajwa.

SOURCE: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1710317/1-gwadar-opens-new-avenues-business-jobs/

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Investors to get hefty incentives for industries in Special Economic Zones

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Chinese investors, preparing to set up industry in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will get significant incentives including exemption from duties and taxes, concessional loans, land on instalments and the facility of one window operation to help them in dealing with federal and provincial departments.

According to an official document of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Secretariat, the Pakistani government has provided a policy package to attract potential investors including Chinese enterprises.

The incentive package includes one-time exemption from all customs duties and taxes on plant and machinery imported into Pakistan for installation in Special Economic Zones.

The investors will get an exemption from all taxes on income accruable in relation to the development and operation of the SEZs for a period of five years and an exemption from all taxes on income for enterprises commencing commercial production by June 30, 2020, in the SEZs for the next ten years.

Pakistan and Chinese governments in their 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held in November last year decided to establish nine special economic zones in different regions.

The list of priority Special Economic Zones (SEZs) include: SEZ in Rashakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, SEZ Dhabeji Sindh, Bostan Industrial Zone in Balochistan, Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3), Faisalabad in Punjab, SEZ Maqpoondas in Gilgit Baltistan, ICT Model SEZ in Islamabad, Port Qasim SEZ on Pakistan Steel land in Sindh, Mohmand Marble City in FATA and SEZ in Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan will provide gas, electricity, water and other supporting facilities and working shelters in the industrial parks, set up under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The package includes the provision of plots on instalments (50 per cent down payment and remaining 50 per cent in four biannual instalments).

The investors will also get the markup support at the rate of 50 per cent of the markup to a maximum of 5 per cent on the loans taken in Pakistani currency for financing the project. The support is to be provided by the respective governments for the zones in their jurisdiction. Freight subsidy of 50 per cent will be provided on the inland transportation of plant and machinery for installation in any of the priority SEZ.

Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) will put in place a one window operation and the respective provincial governments will delegate authority for implementing labour, environment and other laws and for the collection of local and provincial taxes or will depute representatives of the departments in SEZA office. The federal government departments including utility companies, Federal Board of Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission will depute representatives to perform similar functions in the zone.

The developer shall also be allowed to purchase gas, electricity, and other utilities from utility providers in bulk and supply the same to the enterprises at rates that are duly notified by SEZA in consultation with the stakeholders.

The developer would also be allowed to rent out sheds for industrial use. To encourage upscaling of the industry so that it can become part of global supply chain, certain guidelines have been prepared by the government, to give a thrust to the industrialization process.

SOURCE: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/08/investors-to-get-hefty-incentives-for-industries-in-special-economic-zones/

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Pakistan’s strengthening financial market attracts Chinese fintech companies

ISLAMABAD: As Pakistani market is attracting the attention of the Chinese entrepreneurs, from one of the popular Chinese fintech companies, Webull, is all set to jump in to capitalise on the huge financial bonanza – making a new edition to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Having witnessed an unprecedented boom in the recent years, China’s internet finance industry currently leads the world when it comes to the total number of users and the market size, with the country making some of the world’s largest investments in the sector by adopting financial technology (fintech) faster than anywhere else.

Besides Alibaba’s Ant Financial stepping into Pakistan recently, Webull is one of the biggest Chinese fintech companies jumping into Pakistan’s market. The company, however, has already been providing advanced global financial information service to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) since September 2017, and that too free-of-cost.

With four of top five companies in the world ranked in terms of market cap, China’s fintech industry is number one internationally and represents the global advanced productivity. A number of fintech companies such as Alibaba’s Ant Financial Service, Lufax, Zhong An Insurance and JD Internet Finance are covering most aspects of domestic consumption through mobile and internet spending. As capital markets are aggressively pursuing the internet finance industry, Alibaba’s Ant Finance has closed the world’s largest private funding round for an internet company at $4.5 billion.

Webull official claims that the company is also registered at US Securities and Exchange Commission and is a member of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) and the Securities Investor Protection Corporation (SIPC).

“The aim of Webull is to be the best financial data and trading service provider for individual investors around the world. By integrating advanced information technology, data technology and financial technology, the users can enjoy a stable, reliable and an efficient financial data and trading service,” according to the official.

“People can not only manage the stock portfolios in Webull but can also complete stock transaction through this app. Free and comprehensive real-time quotes, with millisecond updates, cover the data from more than 90 countries and 106 stocks exchanges in stocks, bonds, funds, foreign currency, commodities, cryptos, derivatives and other trading products.”

Until now, as many as 153 thousand Pakistanis have registered themselves with this app to get real-time information about their trading data. Graphical financial data, business analysis, industry contrast and rich tool makes the app user-friendly in real meanings.

According to the statistics gathered from the Google Analytics, the 153 thousand Pakistani users of Webull app fall in the age bracket of 25 to 44 years and hail from several cities from across countries including Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, Rawalpindi, Hyderabad, Peshawar and Multan. The highest number of users come from Karachi, followed by Lahore and Islamabad.

According to the available statistics, people spent average seven minutes on the Webull app, and 96.1 per cent of the total visitors were returning customers. Of the total number of visitors, 92.4 per cent were male while 7.6 per cent female.

“Best App for Global Stock with outstanding features,” posted Afzaal Hussain Channar from Karachi on his Facebook page.

“This is the best search for me for Pakistan Stock Exchange scripts,” wrote another app user on the social media website.

With the launch of multi-billion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the flagship project of China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Chinese companies are fast moving to Pakistan to capitalize on the huge business opportunities offered by unprecedented development projects being executed in the country in a highly progressive and investment-friendly environment.

Pakistan and China are all-weather strategic cooperative partners. With the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) well underway, growth in digital sectors of both countries is set to strengthen efforts for bilateral economic cooperation and there are broad prospects of collaboration in the field of fintech between Pakistan and China.

Source: https://profit.pakistantoday.com.pk/2018/04/07/pakistans-strengthening-financial-market-attracts-chinese-fintech-giant/

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Peshawar-Karachi Motorway Expected to Bring New Investment Opportunities in Karachi

China Pakistan Economic Corridor, a multi-billion dollar project, is set to bring investment in Karachi, which can be assessed from what is being invested on road infrastructure of the motorway project.

 According to a World Group’s Study “Transforming Karachi into Livable and Competitive City” published recently, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) may influence the future development of the city.

It can be gauged that the investment on road infrastructure between Karachi to Lahore – that will be a 1,100-kilometer freeway or motorway and a major section of Peshawar-Karachi Motorway (PKM) – is worth approximately US$11 billion.

According to the reports, other motorway projects (Karachi to Sukkur) are now considered a major component of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and will cost approximately $6.6 billion, with the bulk of financing to be distributed by various Chinese state-owned banks. The Sukkur to Multan and Multan to Lahore is likely to be completed this year with local and foreign financing.

This presents an opportunity for local and international companies to invest in the megacity with a population of over 20 million. It is because the motorway will provide an avenue of investments and businesses for local and foreign investors and businessmen.

The study highlighted the expected impact of CPEC on three key areas.

Trade & Services

There will be an increase in economic volume, which will have an impact on the trade and service sectors, the stock exchange, the price of commodities, land development, and other activities.

Real Estate, Construction, & Housing

The CPEC could drive real estate and housing as well as communication, transport, and construction industries.

Land Use & Connectivity

While it is envisaged that economic activity would spread along with CPEC, the southern bypass could see additional freight transport activities, and the northern bypass and other major arteries may expect increased traffic to serve housing and commercial uses.

Recommendations by World Group to Attract FDI in Karachi

The consolidation of accurate city data will be the first step toward effective long-term integrated planning. Mega cities can shape more livable urban environments by planning and anticipating for the long term. Land-use and spatial planning can safeguard space for the longer term and protect the environment while responding to market demand and space needs for businesses, housing, and amenities. To reap dividends, the following are needed: better land administration; transparent development and real estate indicators, transactions, and processes; and links to the tax system.

Regional planning is required to reap benefits from an economic corridor. Large-scale growth is expected from the CPEC. A regional plan is needed to reap the benefits associated with such growth—and for equitable, inclusive, and efficient growth—while safeguarding environmental and cultural assets.

The planned implementation of a bus rapid transit (BRT) system could make areas in Karachi more accessible. This plans must translate to implementable, transparent policies that can respond to city needs and private sector development in the shorter term.

Various land-owning agencies at different levels will need to work closely to meet the needs of the city in a coordinated and efficient way. Second, given that the public sector controls more than 90 percent of the land in Karachi Division, it is even more critical that it takes the lead in ensuring quality development for economic, social, and environmental needs.

Less than 5 percent of the city’s land is controlled by private entities. There are opportunities to explore appropriate, transparent mechanisms for land disposal and allocation so that land resources can better respond to demand and private-sector needs.

Plans to improve resilience to external shocks and climate change should be incorporated into urban planning. The recent heat wave in 2015 and the city’s susceptibility to floods need to be addressed. Initiatives such as “greening” the city’s public spaces could not only help reduce heat islands and reduce energy consumption but also provide breathing spaces for an increasingly dense city.

SOURCE: https://propakistani.pk/2018/04/09/karachi-to-peshawar-motorway-expected-to-bring-new-investment-opportunities-in-karachi/

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Rupee value to increase due to CPEC: Ahsan Iqbal

LAHORE: Federal Interior Minister Ahsan Iqbal said a new middle class market will emerge in Pakistan as the country achieves the gross domestic product (GDP) growth target of 6%.

He added that the value of the Pakistani rupee, which recently plunged over 9% against the US dollar due to a bulging current account deficit, is likely to increase due to investments in the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

While addressing the ‘Think and Grow’ summit, he said investors from Europe, Middle East and other parts of the world would start businesses in Pakistan, which will create a positive impact of CPEC on their economy. The summit was hosted by the University of Management and Technology, Lahore in collaboration with the Pakistan Industrial Technical Assistance Centre and the Centre of Excellence CPEC.

Govt uses ‘best tool in hand’, allows rupee fall

 Iqbal said that CPEC would be completed by 2030 in three phases. In the first phase of CPEC, energy and physical infrastructure would be developed by 2020, he said, adding that the roadmap for the formation of a National Internal Security Policy (NISP) is centred on goals defined in Vision 2025, which envisage sharing peace, stability and development.

Speakers at the summit called for actively engaging the Pakistani workforce in CPEC in order to provide them first-hand knowledge, experience and engineering being applied by Chinese experts.

They said once the project is fully functional in 2030, foreign direct investments in key areas are likely to pour into Pakistan, resulting in greater opportunities for both countries.

Addressing the summit, UMT Chairman Dr Hasan Sohaib Murad said CPEC is a beacon of hope.

He said current business models need to be replaced with new and innovative ones in order to oversimplify the business culture and attract more locals to take the risk of investment.

Source: https://tribune.com.pk/story/1674289/2-rupee-value-increase-due-cpec-ahsan-iqbal/