CPEC to help south Punjab become foreign investment hub: Gardezi | Pakistan Today

CPEC to help south Punjab become foreign investment hub: Gardezi

–Punjab development minister terms south Punjab as ‘most attractive FDI destination’ amid shifting focus towards agriculture projects

–‘Unskilled Pakistani youth to be trained under Chinese partnership’

ISLAMABAD: Punjab Minister for Management and Professional Development Syed Hussain Jahania Gardezi called south Punjab “the most attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment (FDI)”, reasoning that the focus of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is shifting towards agricultural development and social sector projects.

In an exclusive talk with Pakistan Today, the minister said that the new projects will be signed between China and Pakistan for the human resource development under which unskilled Pakistani youth would benefit from the skill development projects being planned under the CPEC.

“Pakistan currently has the largest percentage of young people ever recorded in its history. Our 64pc of the total population is below the age of 30 while 29pc is between the ages 15 and 29. Hence, Pakistan is one of the youngest countries in the world and the second youngest in the South Asian region,” said the minister.

Gardezi, who specially visited Pakistan Today‘s Islamabad Bureau here, said Punjab leads in terms of Human Development Index (HDI) while within Punjab, south Punjab suffers from a high unemployment rate.

He argued that the Pakistani youth can serve as a catalyst for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since the PTI government has carved out specific plans for the skill development education.

“With the CPEC entering its second phase, Pakistan has become an attractive destination for Foreign Direct Investment. Foreign investors would find south Punjab as the most attractive destination to get more profit as our labour is cheaper here than other parts of the country coupled with the availability of raw material,” the minister said.

He said his ministry is also planning to provide specific training and education programmes for the PCS officers so as to ensure the capacity building of the young bureaucrats based on modern trends.

Gardezi said the Punjab government will offer lucrative incentives to the foreign investors and all measures would be taken to attract foreign as well as local investment. He said under the CPEC, many constructions and development projects have been started in Punjab with regards to energy, infrastructure development, communication and other sectors.

He said steps are being taken to make Pakistan a more conducive and competitive market for businesses and investments. He said the CPEC opened the vista of opportunities in the region, adding that under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of change, Punjab Chief Minister Usman Khan Buzdar was fully committed to implementing the party’s manifesto to bring positive changes in the country.

He said that the government’s core objective is to establish a system based on transparency and accountability in the country.

Gardezi also highlighted the immense potential of Pakistan’s export industry, adding that a favourable economic relation with China rooted in trade will be established.

He said the Punjab government initiated reforms for all sectors, maintaining that the chief minister is committed to improving framework of transparency and accountability across the province.

Mian Abrar

The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

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