- Planning minister likely to announce long-term plan today
ISLAMABAD: Pakistan and China have approved a Long Term Plan (LTP) for the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) eying to develop and expand Pakistan’s economic base, infrastructure, industry, agriculture, trade, information technology and tourism on modern trends to help transform the country into an ‘Asian Tiger’ by the year 2030.
Minister for Planning & Development Ahsan Iqbal is all set to announce the CPEC Long Term Plan today at the Planning Commission. However, Pakistan Today has been able to acquire a copy of the LTP exclusively, to share main features of the plan with its readers in advance.
According to the final document, Pakistan and China would shape up the feasibility of constructing the “2+1+5” tourism spatial structure in Pakistan, which includes two centres, one axis and five zones: Karachi Port and Gwadar Port as the two centres, the coastal tourism belt as the development axis, and five tourist zones including Jiwani and Gwadar tourism zone, Jhal Jhao, Ormara, Sonmiani and Keti Bander.
The plan also aims at promoting the construction of cross-border optical fibre cables between Pakistan and China, and the construction of the backbone optical fibre networks in Pakistan which would ultimately usher in a revolution in Pakistan’s IT world.
Moreover, it also includes up-gradation of Pakistan’s network facilities – including the national data centre and the second submarine cable landing station – and expedition in adopting China’s Digital Terrestrial Multimedia Broadcasting (DTMB) standard by Pakistan.
The CPEC, starting from Kashgar in China’s Xinjiang region, and reaching Pakistan coastal cities via the Khunjerab Pass and several other nodal areas, will help in cementing Pak-China economic relations, promoting friendly cooperation and establishing the shared destiny of the two countries. CPEC is an economic and development project for the benefit of the people of the region.
The LTP is a national plan, and will effectively match relevant national plans and local plans of China as well as Pakistan’s Vision 2025. This plan is effective until 2030; the short-term projects included will be considered up to 2020, medium-term projects up to 2025, and long-term projects up to 2030 and beyond.
Pakistan and China have negotiated over the initial proposed plan which has now been given a final shape. Though both countries have agreed to keep the plan a live document, it has also been agreed that Pakistan and China would make readjustments mutually into the LTP document when, and if, required.
CONNECTIVITY: Transport infrastructure is the basic and prerequisite condition for the construction of the CPEC. It is an important field that can be relied on to guide and drive the economic and social development of the regions along the CPEC, besides promoting the interconnectivity and all-round cooperation between Pakistan and China for shared prosperity.
Areas of focus: Railway network (specifically ML-1 that is of strategic nature under CPEC), and construction of new projects and promoting the modernisation of the railway and build an integrated transport corridor.
AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT & POVERTY ALLEVIATION: Pakistan and China should give full play to their own comparative advantages to strengthen agricultural infrastructure construction within the CPEC coverage and play their own roles in agricultural personnel training, technical exchanges and cooperation.
They should cooperate in key construction areas such as biological breeding, production, processing, storage and transportation, infrastructure construction, disease prevention and control, water resources utilization, conservation and protection, land development and remediation, ICT-enabled agriculture and marketing of agricultural products to promote the systematic, large-scale, standardized and intensified construction of the agricultural industry.
Areas of focus: Strengthening the upgrading of agricultural infrastructure in the regions along the CPEC; promote the construction of water-saving modern agricultural zones, and increase the development and remediation of medium- and low-yielding land to achieve efficient use of resources.
Strengthen drip irrigation technology for water efficiency; strengthen cooperation in the fields such as crop farming, livestock breeding, forestry and food growing, and aquatic and fishery in the regions along the CPEC, with the highlight on technical exchange and cooperation in the fields of development of comprehensive agricultural production capacity, construction of farmland water conservancy facility and agricultural products circulation facility.
Improve post-harvest handling, storage and transportation of agricultural products, and innovate in marketing and sales models; improve water resources operation and management, strengthen the development of pastoral areas and desert, and promote the application of remote sensing technology.
Strengthen production of agriculture inputs particularly pesticides, fertilizers, machinery and support services including agriculture education and research. Collaborate in forestry, horticulture, fisheries and livestock medicines and vaccines, and strengthen production of horticulture products.
TOURISM: Pakistan and China should further exploit the potential advantages of the tourism resources in the regions along the CPEC, especially the Pakistan-China border areas. They should actively research comprehensive development of coastal tourism within the CPEC coverage, with Gwadar and Karachi as the hubs, expand cross-border tourism and improve the quality of tourism services to effectively promote the socio-economic development of the two countries.
Areas of focus: Actively consider the potential advantages of the tourism resources in the regions along the CPEC, especially the Pakistan-China border areas along the railways and highways; jointly research the development and construction of cross-border tourist routes.
Improve the tourism public service system in cross-border areas, with particular attention to the services of public information, convenient transportation, security protection and other services benefiting the public.
Actively consider building a tour route connecting coastal cities of Pakistan and themed on coastal leisure and vacationing. The initial suggested route is: Keti Bander – Karachi – Sonmiani – Ormara – Jhal Jhao – Gwadar – Jiwani.
Both the countries should further strengthen cooperation between local governments, strengthen the communications among non-governmental organisations, develop extensive project cooperation centred on public opinions communication, people-to-people friendship and people’s livelihood improvement, and enhance the comprehensive service capability of the cities along the CPEC.
FINANCIAL COOPERATION: The two countries should explore the establishment of multi-level cooperation mechanisms and strengthen policy coordination. They should also strengthen their own financial reform and opening up, innovate in their own financial products and financial services, and control financial risks to create a good financial environment for the CPEC building.
Areas of focus: Pakistan and China should strengthen cooperation in financial regulation. The two countries should promote monetary cooperation between the central banks, implement existing bilateral currency swap arrangements, research to expand the amount of currency swap and explore to enrich the scope of bilateral currency swap.
Furthermore, they should assign the foreign currency to domestic banks through credit-based bids to support the financing for projects along the CPEC; promote the settlement in domestic currencies (rupees and RMB) to reduce the demand for third-party currency; strengthen the cooperation between the central banks and financial regulatory agencies of the two countries.
The two sides will actively explore bilateral currencies for the settlement of bilateral trade and investment under the relevant arrangements. The two countries encourage clearing and settlement of the financial institutions from both sides through Cross-Border Inter-Bank Payment System (CIPS), promote the free flow of capital in an orderly manner, and enhance the facilitation in cross-border transfer of legitimate funds.
INVESTMENT AND FINANCING MECHANISM: China supports Pakistan to cooperate with the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Both the countries shall promote the mutual opening of their financial sector and the establishment of the financial institutions in each other; encourage financial institutions of the two countries to support the financing, including the loans from international consortium of banks, for the projects along the CPEC; establish and improve a cross-border credit system, and promote financial services such as export credit, project financing, syndicated loan, trade finance, investment bank, cross-border RMB business, financial market, assets management, e-bank, and financial lease; support the project financing by RMB loans, and establish the evaluation model of power bill in RMB.
China should give full play to its advantages in investment and financing in accordance with the principle of joint investment, joint construction and sharing benefits. The two countries should reasonably determine the investment and financing modes based on the nature of projects and the status of cash flow. They should create necessary commercial conditions for the enterprises to carry out the projects according to the market-oriented principle, and establish a reasonable cost and revenue sharing mechanism to ensure reasonable commercial returns from the projects for all stakeholders.
As long as the governments and people of the two countries treat each other with all sincerity and cooperate sincerely, they will build the CPEC into an open, inclusive one with economic prosperity, social stability and security, and the wellbeing of people. The planning and implementation of the CPEC will further improve the economic base of the all-weather strategic partnership of cooperation between Pakistan and China, and deepen economic ties binding the two countries.