Minister for Planning, Development and Special Initiatives of Pakistan Asad Umar has said that the pace of implementation of projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be accelerated further in the days to come.
In a meeting with Chinese ambassador Yao Jing, matters relating to the CPEC, business-to-business collaboration between the two countries and social sector development in Pakistan came under discussion.
The minister expressed satisfaction over the overall delivery of the CPEC projects and said that the establishment and operationalisation of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in all the provinces is a priority and progress in that regard is being closely monitored.
SEZs, he said, would act as a catalyst to increase the growth of manufacturing in the country.
The ambassador expressed interest in putting special attention to rail transport, hydroelectric power projects, social sector development projects, and B2B (business to business) collaboration between the two countries.
Yao said China would also consider investing in the low-cost housing programme in Pakistan.
He said meetings of some of the CPEC Joint Working Groups would be held through video conferencing to ensure preparation for the upcoming Joint Co-operation Committee (JCC) meeting without any delay.
The planning minister also said the provincial and federal governments are highly interested in the Karachi Circular Railway (KCR) project and discussed latest developments regarding the project.
Umar emphasised the need for enhancing B2B collaboration in banking, telecommmunications and digital finance, manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
Separately, in a meeting with Yao, Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh thanked China for supporting Pakistan in the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) meetings.
“China and other brotherly countries have supported Pakistan throughout the process in terms of guiding the country in improving its frameworks,” he said.
The adviser and the Chinese envoy met to review preparations for the upcoming visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping, according to a press release.
During the meeting, both sides discussed progress on the CPEC and measures to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries.
Matters of bilateral interest were discussed and they agreed to enhance economic co-operation.
The ambassador said it is a difficult time for the people of China as they were facing the outbreak of the coronavirus.
He added that China is dealing patiently with the virus and hopes to overcome it soon.
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