Pakistan benefiting from first CPEC phase: Kakar

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ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq Kakar on Wednesday said that having achieved the first phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), Pakistan was benefiting from its early harvest projects while remaining engaged with China to execute the next phase.

“We have already achieved the CPEC’s first phase and we are benefiting from its early harvest projects. We are entering the second phase. We do need more deliberations when it comes to the second phase,” he said in an interview with China Global Television Network (CGTN).

He said CPEC’s second phase required road and air connectivity around the industrialisation projects. “Both sides are engaged and we have developed a lot of connectivity — road, air and rest of connectivity corridor. We are benefiting from the ecosystem of doing trade with one another,” he remarked.

Asked how he articulated the Chinese economy, Kakar said, “I am always sanguine about it. There are 1.5 billion consumers and 1.5 billion producers. How can you divorce 1.5 billion people from 8 billion people? It has to remain connected.” He said being a huge marketplace, both China and the world were interested in each other.

He said Pakistan was on the middle ground amidst the discourse between Global North and South, and other conflicts in the region. Domestically, he said, the government needed to earn more and spend less. Kakar said that Pakistan should remain focused on taking advantage of opportunities in the region, including the Belt and Road Initiative and relocation of Chinese industry. He advocated the policy envisaging to encourage business and provide them electricity on competitive price to help the businesses produce competitive goods for export to the international market.

Meanwhile, chairing a meeting to discuss the strategy to reduce circular debt of the energy sector, the caretaker prime minister on Wednesday directed the Ministry of Energy to formulate an effective and durable strategy to do away with the circular debt. He said all the stakeholders would have to put in collective efforts for reduction in the circular debt. The meeting was briefed about the current situation of circular debt of the petroleum and energy sectors, and different proposals were also put forward in this regard.

Our correspondent adds: In view of continuous dry weather and drought-like situation, the caretaker prime minister has directed for offering ‘Namaz-e-Istisqa’ at both at the federal and provincial level across the country. The Ministry of Religious Affairs has written a letter to the provincial governments conveying directives of the interim PM to offer Namaz-e-Istisqa (special prayer for rain) across the country.

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