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CPEC to focus Agriculture framework under JVs

Federal Minister for Planning Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar has said agriculture framework under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) focused on joint ventures, value-addition, cold chain management, and marketing and branding to overcome socio-economic weaknesses.

Addressing the PIDE conference on Wednesday, the minister said that the SME sector has been identified as one of the key sector of economic growth, and CPEC was an opportunity for Pakistan and China for growth and prosperity.

He said that consumption in Pakistan was 93 percent of the GDP, highest among emerging economies, whereas in Bangladesh, consumption was about 74 percent. “The saving rate in Pakistan is less than half of other countries of the region,” he said, urging to increase saving, and to balance between direct and indirect taxes.

He further addressed that the service sector contributed 56 percent to domestic GDP, but its share in exports was very small. He pointed out that imports from China have reached $18 billion.

Shahid Hussain Assad, who discussed “Revenue Management, Issues and Challenges” at the conference, said that Pakistan faced several issues in tax collection, including the narrow tax base and low tax to GDP ratio. Large informal economy proves to be a reason in loss of taxable income.

Dr Ashfaq Hasan Khan, member, Economic Advisory Council, argued that exchange was a very weak determinant of exports and exchange rate has very adverse impact on the external debt. He said any potential benefit of exchange rate was wiped out due to increase in external debt, and in addition the devaluation raises the costs of inputs for local production which hurts the economy badly.

News Source: The News International

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