By Muhammad Usman
It is evident in the history of Pakistan there has not been such extensive investment for the last 70 years as in the form of CPEC project. The development of any country is dependent on various factors, among which investment has a vital role. Disregarding the political differences, then CPEC can be very beneficial and can make Pakistan an Asian Tiger of the 21st Century. This 46 Billion Dollar investment is a Golden opportunity to change the fate of Pakistan.
Vision 2025 has seven pillars that are directly or indirectly related to this CPEC project. These pillars have 25 different objectives and CPEC have a unique role in achieving these objectives.
First Pillar: Give preference to people
Many indicators from the comparative analysis of different reports prove that Pakistan has shown a significant improvement in these indicators for the last few years. Pakistan is spending 2.2 % of GDP on education and to increase it to 4% till 2018 is part of vision 2025 agenda. Pakistan has been spending 0.5 to 0.8% of GDP on health sector for the last decade which is enabling common peolpe to gain an excess to basic health facilities. According to the World Bank’s figure, female involvement in labour force was 24.57%, which was 24.31% in 2014. According to vision 2025, it has to be increased from 24% to 45%. Involvement of females in labour force is an important step towards the development and will play a vital role in making Pakistan a successful economy.
Second Pillar: To maintain and stabilize the GDP
In Macro economical context, the strength of any economy is being indicated through its GDP. Pakistan‘s economy has gained a positive direction with the initiation of CPEC project in 2013. In the past ten years, Pakistan’s GDP has been the highest in 2016-17 that is 5.3 %, which is going to go up the ladder to 8% in the context of 2025 vision. Pakistan has been successful in decreasing the poverty level to a considerable extent. Tax to GDP ratio for 2018 is 11% which was 10.9 % in 2017.
Third Pillar: Strong democracy and institutional reforms
Institutions are the strength of democracy. Transparency is being incorporated with the initiation of CPEC Project. There has been a significant improvement in performance of institutions. Through one window operation the evil of corruption has been controlled to a certain extent. Many systems are online due to advanced technology which not only provided convenience to citizens but has strengthened the trust of foreign investors in Pakistan.
Fourth Pillar: Energy, Water and Food
To run the industrial sector, Energy is a primary element. Pakistan is facing decrease of 2% in GDP due to energy crisis. By July 2018, Pakistan will be able to produce 27,000 MW of energy and the demand will be 25,000 by then which will be help grow the industry. The energy produced through coal, water, silver and air will be able to provide inexpensive electricity. To fulfill the basic necessities of food and water various agriculture reforms has been made and new dams are also built and more are under construction.
Fifth Pillar: Private sector and Business growth
In order to maintain the balance of payments, it is important to invite the private sectors. One of the purposes of 2025 vision is to provide favourable opportunities to businesses and take suitable measures for foreign investments. With CPEC in every province special economic zones are being established which is a tremendous opportunity for private conglomerates.
Sixth Pillar: The optimal use of Technology and increase in economic value
The optimal use of technology is supposed to be an important factor in the developed economies, one of the advantages of CPEC project is that there will be an ease in access to transfer the advanced technology from china. Pakistan sells most of its exports without value adding due to which foreign exchange reserves are affected. CPEC vision 2025 will help in achieving these objectives too.
Seventh Pillar: Advanced transportation and connectivity series
Various projects are coming under the basic structure of CPEC, which includes highways and motorways from Kashgarh to Gwadar. With the ML-1 Rail project, advanced transportation system in Pakistan will be developed which will not only reduce time but would also support modern fast movement trains in Asia resulting in reduced costs. Vision 2025’s purpose also includes increasing Pakistani export from 25 billion to 150 billion dollars. Taking all the elements into consideration, it will not be inappropriate to say that through CPEC’s instrumental role, Pakistan’s economy is heading towards becoming the next Asian Tiger in a short span of time.
*The writer is a Research Assistant in the theme area of “Financing and Financial Sector Integration under CPEC” at Centre of Excellence-China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CoE-CPEC).