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CPEC – a golden opportunity for Pakistan: Guntur Sugiyarto

LAHORE: Principal economist, Pakistan Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Guntur Sugiyarto, has said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is a golden opportunity for Pakistan.

He was exclusively talking to The News on the sidelines of the 14th International Conference on Management of the Pakistan Economy, organised by the Lahore School of Economics (LSE), here on Thursday.

The best way for Pakistan is to make sure the CPEC does not become just a transit corridor, but proves to be an economic corridor. It should be supportive of local industry to enhance production and promote development, Sugiyarto suggested.

“CPEC should not only serve the Chinese interests of providing it access to global markets but also become part of the industrial development of Pakistan. It should be a key component of the Pakistan economic corridor development,” added the ADB principal economist. He suggested that Pakistan should developed indigenous corridors to connect with CPEC, so that the local industry could benefit from the project to the optimum level.

For developing the local economic corridors, Sugiyarto said Pakistan should utilise the existing resources in a judicious manner. “Foreign resources and investments are coming to Pakistan under CPEC and others. Pakistan has announced development of nine special economic zones (SEZs) under CPEC. The government of Pakistan must first ensure these SEZs are located at right places. He believed that the locations of the SEZs were very important and that must be developed according to the economic feasibility and global best practices in accordance with the Pakistan needs.

“The SEZs can be of different types of economic zones. So for, nine SEZs locations have been identified, which can offer industrial development of Pakistan. These zones could be agriculture based, manufacturing based and other sectors, depending on economic assessment of the areas,” Sugiyarto added.

“The SEZ should not be developed for political reasons, as it could prove to be disastrous for the country. “There are many good and bad examples of the SEZ in the world and Pakistan should not repeat any mistake in this regard,” the ADB principal economist said.

Sugiyarto said the ADB was working with the government of Pakistan to identify and decide the location and development of a SEZ. “The most important aspect of the SEZ is that it is special, so Pakistan is needed to give right incentives and right infrastructure and also right set of policies for business regulations, cost of doing business, ease of doing business etc.”

Pakistan needs to improve the existing business regulations and policies for industrial development, including ease of doing business and others so that the investors come here,” Guntur Sugiyarto concluded.

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