Wednesday, December 2, 2020

How PTI helped Pakistan’s industrial sector reach full potential

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The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf has in its two year undertaken many reforms to the industrial sector in order to improve industries across the country including institutional as well as structural reforms.

The Department of Communications and Works was reformed mostly within 2018-2020. The reforms which were targeted at making operations more transparent and efficient were also aimed at diversifying development into various usually forgotten districts and timely completion of projects.

This was deemed imperative as most of the projects that previous governments had partaken in had always been focused on selective districts and regions.

‘E-tendering has also been introduced, through which all steps that are taken in projects are computerized; making it much less likely that corruption may take place. This system will provide assistance from creating tenders to publishing and downloading tenders.

Website www.eproc.cnw.ov.pk will have the data of all the contractors, consultants and customers. All the relevant offices have been linked to this website to improve the performance of the organization. The first phase of the project will be launched soon.

The Mega-projects

Pakistan suffers from economic recession and unemployment, made especially adamant during the pandemic. The government has hence taken various steps to industrialize regions that are historically industrially regressive.

This economic revival is hoped to be achieved by the creation of a network of SEZ’s across the country. As part of the CPEC, the projects are expected to converge into the plan of converting Pakistan into a ‘geo-economic hub.’ This was mentioned in an interview of the President of Pakistan with journalist Dr. Moeed Pirzada for GVS. In the interview the President said that Pakistan now seeks to become a geo-economic hub as opposed to just a strategically placed country on the world map.

Read more: Faisalabad medical manufacturing zone to save Pakistan Rs1.4 billion: Chaudhry

Pakistan has thus made significant headway in its diplomatic mission to regional neighbors.

Pakistani Ambassador to Afghanistan Mansoor Khan announced that Pakistan and Afghanistan will initiate discussions on the revisions of a bilateral transit agreement between the two countries, and a Preferential Trade Agreement, this week.

The importance of SEZ’s can be established by studying the country that ran the most successful SEZ program to date. China’s SEZ’s functioned as siphoning devices for investments and funds. The economic models that were found to be most successful in these specific regions were then later extended into the rest of the country, as well as the investments that flowed into these SEZ’s were used to develop less develop regions of the country.

Pakistan wishes to emanate the same success. Federal Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak said on Sunday Prime Minister Imran Khan would lay the foundation stone for the Rashakai Economic Zone on November 21 that would change the fate of region. The ceremony has been delayed due to the coronavirus uptick in the country.

“Rashakai Economic Zone is part of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor cluster of projects and will go a long way towards fetching massive investment to the province and creating a large number of jobs,” Khattak had said while talking to the media after addressing different functions in his hometown of Nowshera.

Explaining his statement, the federal minister said the road from Chitral to Gilgit-Baltistan would provide us access to markets in China and Central Asian Republics and this make Peshawar once again a hub of trade. Pervez Khattak said the Circular Railways Project would connect Peshawar, Charsadda, Mardan, Swabi and Nowshera with one another and thus greatly benefit the people of these districts of the Peshawar Valley.

Read more: CPEC Authority Chairman Gen. Asim Bajwa explains challenges ahead

Similar SEZ’s and connectivity projects have been initiated and planned all over the country.

Thus the underlying narrative for these SEZ’s is a overhaul of the industrial outlook of the country by siphoning in foreign investment and technologies.

Other Industrial projects in the CPEC for the industrial sector

“The PTI government showed the mettle to survive against all odds ranging from bureaucratic glitches, malicious international propaganda, economic and financial challenges, foreign pressures, and COVID-19 pandemic,” said a report published by Gwadar Pro on Tuesday.

CPEC has played a significant role in the ‘anchoring’ of economic policies that the government has introduced in the last two years. The government has concentrated on gray areas that the industrial complex suffered from.

Prime Minister Imran Khan had said in September that the country’s economic future is now linked to China and the bilateral relations between Islamabad and Beijing are ‘better than ever before’.

The projects are expected to bring in much needed technological reform. Technological reform is an imperative need for agriculture enhancements, industrial practices and the creation of a large number of jobs in order to cater to the bulging young population of the country.

The projects thus helped in mitigating electricity woes, rolling out the construction of dams, creating thousands of jobs, laying down network of roads, revamping ICT and fostering agriculture structure on modern lines.

The government also made significant headway with healthcare by rolling out various programs like the Sehat Insaaf Card. A healthy labor force is a productive labor force.

According to the report, the a major part of the streamlining of CPEC projects has been the establishment of CPEC authority headed by Lt Gen (R) Asim Saleem Bajwa, reconstitution of the 15-member business council by Board of Investment (BOI), China Pakistan Free Trade Agreement-II (CPFTA) Pakistan, tangible progress on SEZs, a framework on modern farming, Diamer Basha dam and ML-1 Railway project.

In terms of energy that plays a dominant role in the economic development. Pakistan’s first joint venture CPHGC’s Hub coal-fired power plant producing 1320MW started its operations last year.

Before 2018, hydropower projects were not prioritized, forcing Pakistan to produce costly electricity and spend billions of rupees on imported oil. This made Pakistan dependent for its energy needs to foreign nations.

Prime Minister to visit Faisalabad today

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan is visiting Faisalabad, today. He inaugurated a new underpass, Kashmir Underpass on the Canal Road. He inaugurated the Model Police Station Civil Lines and a community kitchen outside the railway station.

ARY News reported that he will meet with the business community, Textile manufacturers, and the export community.

Federal Ministers Asad Umar and Hamad Azhar are accompanying the prime minister.

Asad Umer said that, “Faisalabad is seeing investments, employment, industries that were closing and seeing an export rise.”

Shahbaz Gill said that power looms were being sold at Rs 40 per kilo in the PMLN era, now 30,000 new power looms are being installed, that require two lakh new employees.

The Textile industry has seen significant improvements as a result of the Prime Minister’s industrial reforms. According to sources within the Textile industry, the stakeholders are relieved by the reforms as export orders have seen an unprecedented rise. Orders from Bangladesh and India have been diverted to the Pakistani industry, said the report.

Speaking to the business community in Faisalabad Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he was in strong favor of creating a high court in Faisalabad as it adhered to his belief in the devolution of powers.

He said that all modern cities work in this democratic way and that Mayors must be chosen through a direct election and should subsequently be able to choose a cabinet with experts on water, education etc.

On Faisalabad he said that instead of being known an the Manchester of Pakistan, Faisalabad he hoped Faisalabad would be known in Manchester as the city that made tremendous progress.

PM Imran said that he wanted to make clear his policy, he said that they wanted to emanate the same success and industrialization that Pakistan saw in the 60’s. However, the Pm said, the Nationalization of the 70’s was a mistake, instead other laws and policies can be made to make the wealth flow from the rich to the poor. He said that it would be redundant to be against wealth creation as long as it is legal.

“The government is very happy with wealth creation, pay your taxes, earn legally. It is through wealth creation that individuals that be lifted from below the poverty line,” The PM said.

Addressing the criticism faced by the government on inflation, he said that most people don’t realize that the inflation was caused by the trade deficit which has now been converted into a surplus after 17 years.

He promised to provide legal and social stability to the business community.

“You can rest assured that no policy will be made that will change your business outlook in one day,” he assured the business leaders.

He assured the community that various measures were being taken for the creation of ‘value adding’ labor. Educational institutions would be set up to ensure the training of labor.

He said that in return he wished that the community will continue to invest in developing the export sector and not ‘forget the workers’ and keep their wages fair.

 

Faisalabad has grown to become a major industrial and distribution centre because of its central location in the region and connecting roads, rails, and air transportation.

Faisalabad has been referred to as the “Manchester of Pakistan. As of 2013, GDP of Faisalabad was estimated as $43 billion and projected to rise to $87 billion in 2025 at a growth rate of 5.7%. Faisalabad contributes over 20 percent to the Punjab’s GDP and has an average annual GDP (nominal) of $20.5 billion. Agriculture and its industrial sector remain its hallmark.

GVS News Desk

 

 

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