Ahsan Iqbal, Minister for Planning & Development, on Friday (21st July, 2017) directed the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to finalise a detailed roadmap to ensure its crucial role in China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
“The FBR can make its role even more effective by setting up business-friendly and state-of-the-art documentation system, monitoring and implementation as well as evaluation and assessment mechanism,” said Iqbal, addressing a business and research seminar on the CPEC.
Keynoting the event, organised by Directorate of Training and Research (Customs) FBR, the minister said that Customs has to play a crucial role in the CPEC to facilitate effective channels for engaging Pakistan in global supply chain and assist in developing Pakistan’s market oriented economy and industries.
“The CPEC has provided an opportunity to promote new markets and connectivity across the entire region and there is need for further cooperation,” Iqbal remarked while highlighting the impact of the CPEC on Pakistan and the region.
He observed that Pakistan was lucky to have a time-tested relationship with China. “Our Vision 2025 and China’s Annual Plan complement each other” the planning minister remarked, saying the CPEC has transformed this bilateral relation from strategic into economic nature.
Today, the minister noted, is the age of discovery, innovation, and speed wherein old concepts as well as paradigms have become redundant. “In past, the big used to eat the small but now, the fast eats the slow. Every nation state has to adapt to new ways and technology,” he said.
He stressed that engaging the country in global supply chain is vital for industrial development. “Today, manufacturing has taken the shape of global supply chain as industries are going global. Japan’s automobile industries are producing more vehicles in USA than Japan” he added.
Looking back, Iqbal said that in 2013, Pakistan was facing up to 20 hours of power outages and a serious threat of civil war, whereas, industries were packing up and multinationals were leaving Pakistan. “As much as 9 percent of the GDP used to go for servicing deficit and stock market had crashed. We were on the brink of default in 2014, but anymore” Iqbal noted.
He continued that today, the deficit is down to 5 percent of the overall GDP and foreign reserves have risen to $22 billion dollars, while Pakistan’s benchmark stock exchange index has crossed 50000 points mark until recent political instability and negativity that has done huge harm to our development progress.
“We need to ensure stability, social solidarity, internal harmony, reforms, improve and align ourselves with international happening. Otherwise our ship will sink” Iqbal stressed. The minister further said that Pakistan seized the moment when China was about to relocate 85 million labour intensive jobs. “Had we not jumped in, the opportunities would have gone to Laos, Cambodia, and other parts of world” he said, adding our industrialisation should be robust and competitive in order to completely capitalise on this mega geo-economic regional initiative.
Iqbal informed the participants of the event that four international automobile companies have expressed interest in investment in Pakistan. “There will be even more interest shown in investing in Pakistan from around the world, provided we develop internal harmony and ensure political stability,” the minister said.
Reference to an article, the planning minister said the CPEC was not stealthy but a transparent and open project. “The CPEC is Airbus A380 that is rowing around the world, spreading positive vibes, bringing investment into Pakistan and restoring our energy” he emphasised. Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui, Secretary Planning, Hassan Daud Butt, Project Director CPEC were also present on the occasion.
(Source: The News)