In the second meeting of the Cabinet Committee on CPEC Projects held at the Planning and Development Board, Punjab Finance Minister, Makhdoom Hashim Jawan Bakht announced that a model economic zone would be set up to hold the interests of the overseas Pakistani and Chinese investors.
The attendees of the meeting included Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa, Provincial Minister for Agriculture Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, Chief Secretary Punjab, Chairman Planning and Development Board and Secretaries of all concerned departments.
The Punjab Finance Minister who presided over the meeting said that priority would be given to irrigation and agriculture projects in the second phase of CPEC. He also stressed on the need of imparting technical training to local labor so that they are at par with the demand of the Chinese partner companies. More employment opportunities would be generated this way, he added.
The minister also directed for the services of Technical Education & Vocational Training Authority (TEVTA) institutions be used for training the local human resource.
He said that Pakistan should train its workforce itself instead of relying upon Chinese investment for technical training. He urged for TEVTA institutions affiliated with NEVTAC to be utilized as it would help increase TEVTA’s capacity.
Bajwa informed the participants that the Chinese companies were ready to invest in economic zones and the agriculture sector through government partnership under CPEC in the second phase. “In order to increase the interest of Chinese investors, it is necessary for us to introduce business models according to the needs of investors in our industrial zones”, he suggested.
The Punjab Finance Minister also asked for the rules and regulations to be reviewed in accordance with the recommendations of the CPEC Joint Working Groups for starting business in the Special Economic Zones (SEZs). The federal government is going to resolve issues related to gas and electricity supply in economic zones on a priority basis, he added.
“There is an increase in investment and consumption of local labor in the province. In order to increase investment, it is necessary to ensure the provision of facilities as per the needs of the partners”, he remarked.
The Provincial Minister also instructed the Secretary Industry to compile a complete record of all TEVTA institutions with a detailed briefing on irrigation and agriculture projects for the next meeting. Besides agriculture lands, Auqaf Department lands should also be recognized for creation of the special model economic zones, he added.
Makhdoom Hashim Jawan concluded the meeting by thanking Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa for his presence and terming it beneficial for future CPEC projects.