Chinese industry’s relocation to Pakistan will create jobs: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD – Planning, Development and Reforms Minister Ahsan Iqbal, on Thursday, said that the relocation of Chinese industry in Pakistan would help create a huge number of jobs for local people.

“After fixing the infrastructure under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Chinese industrialists plan to take advantage of low-cost labour in Pakistan by relocating their industries in Special Economic Zones (SEZ), being constructed under CPEC, as they are unable to compete with Pakistan in terms of labour cost,” Ahsan said while addressing CPEC Logistic International Forum, organised by National Logistic Cell (NLC).

He said that it was impossible for the Chinese industrialists to bring the labour along with their industries as it would increase the cost of their business. The minister said that nine SEZs would be established in all provinces under CPEC and the ownership of the SEZs had been given to the provinces, and all provinces were fully cooperating in efforts to establish the SEZs.

He said that with the establishment of road and railway network in the country under CPEC, logistic and transport sector would be promoted. “Work on Peshawar-Karachi Motorway is in progress and hopefully it would be completed by end of next year,” he said, adding that after completion of ML-1 railway track from Peshawar to Karachi, the speed of railways would be increased from 80 to 180 km per hour.

Ahsan Iqbal said that the current government had the honour to invest heavily in the energy sector, which would result in an increase of 10,000 MW electricity in the national grid by May, 2018. Additionally, he said that the government was also upgrading the transmission lines in order to carry the extra load of electricity from the source to the consumers.

The minister said that under CPEC, Gwadar city would be developed as an international port city, at par with Singapore and Hong Kong port city within 20 to 30 years.

He said that the idea of Gwadar Port City was initiated by PML-N government in 1990s, while due to political instability; the idea remained stuck and could not be materialised until 2013, when the current government handed over the work of port city to China under CPEC.

Addressing the forum, former finance minister, Dr Salman Shah proposed to establish an autonomous body National Integrity Logistic and Transport Authority (NILTA) to help promoting the sector at world class level so that it could face the challenges emerging from CPEC.