CPEC Phase II set to initiate an era of Industrialization in Pakistan

LAHORE – The super mega project of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is poised to herald an industrial revolution and usher in an era of prosperity, development, progress, besides uplifting the socio-economic condition of the poor strata in Pakistan. The United Business Group (UBG) Chairman Iftikhar Ali Malik and the Group’s candidates for the upcoming election of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) expressed these views while talking to APP here on Sunday. They added the CPEC was the game changer and several projects under the economic corridor were being completed. These projects, they observed, were putting a very positive impact on the economic conditions of the people thus improving their living standard substantially.

Malik said that prudent economic decisions taken by Prime Minister Imran Khan were yielding positive results in stimulating the industrial growth in Faisalabad. He said that the government’s effective measures were also giving a boost to the construction industry across the country while electricity relief package was also contributing a lot in accelerating economic activities in all sectors.

Responding to a question, Malik said that COVID-19 had crippled even the advanced economies of the world, countries including Pakistan were trying to manoeuvre through the coronavirus; monetary and fiscal policies were extensively being used to deal with negative economic impact due to the pandemic. He mentioned the decision of allowing industrial operations during the second wave of coronavirus pandemic had a salutary impact on the national economy.

Malik said the PTI government this time again during the second wave of corona pandemic had made its best and the economy was now recovering gradually because of appropriate policy recourse to address the macroeconomic imbalances. The stabilization efforts paid off with a sustained adjustment in current account deficit and continued fiscal prudence, he added. The UBG Presidential candidate in the upcoming (FPCCI) election Khalid Tawab told APP that all chambers and affiliated trade associations of entire provinces of Sindh and Baluchistan had reposed unflinching confidence in the UBG policies which was evident from the fact that they elected the UBG vice-presidential candidates in Sindh and Balochistan unopposed. Khalid Tawab was of the view that COVID-19, in a way, further highlighted the fundamental weaknesses of Pakistan’s economy such as low tax to GDP ratio, reduced savings rate and minimal export growth with negligible value addition etc. while the industrial sector regressed. However, the present government responded promptly to such issues by reforming policy measures; introducing smart lockdowns instead of bringing all the economic activities to a standstill. “Since the business community is the backbone of the economy and we acknowledge the government’s efforts to facilitate the businesses and industry. We support Imran Khan’s vision of much-needed revitalization of the economy and industry,” he assured. He, however, added that though the PTI government was committed to increase the exports and improve trade activities in the country, stakeholders of many sectors of the economy were being ignored by the policymakers. He urged the authorities concerned to ensure representation of all stakeholders while framing future economic policies and trade-related decisions to make them viable. On this occasion, Pervaiz Lala VP candidate from Punjab demanded of the government to extend the construction package for one year so that huge investment injected in this industry could bear fruits. He assured that all problems being confronted by the business community would be addressed on top priority by the UBG at the Federation’s platform. Malik and the UBG candidates expressed the resolve that if the UBG panel voted to power, it would continue to safeguard interests of the trade and industry at all levels.

They assured the voters that a special cell would be established to monitor the industry’s losses in the ongoing COVID-19 so that another additional package could be obtained from the government to help sustain and stabilize the industry on top priority. They also appealed to the businessmen and industrialists to strictly adhere to SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) issued by the government time to time with the resurgence of the deadly virus so that they could save themselves and others from this pandemic.