China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) carries in its lap lucrative prospects for Pakistan’s economy to thrive. There is no gainsaying the fact that Pakistan’s economic fortune seems bright in the wake of CPEC as it is an economic jackpot which will result in an inclusive economic development of Pakistan.
Currently, Pakistan has been at face with severe economic crisis and this can be testified from the recently passed budget by PTI government for fiscal year 2019-2020. Here is an overview of some of the economic challenges highlighted in the budget which indicate that the country’s battle against economic meltdown is, indeed, serious. As per the recently presented budget, Pakistan’s total debt and liabilities have reached Rs 31,000 billion during the last ten years along foreign debt and liabilities reaching up to $97 billion. The country’s foreign exchange reserves have fallen from $18 billion to less than $10 billion.The current account deficit between income and expenditure has reached $20 million.
In the wake of dismal economic figures which PTI government says it has borrowed from previous governments, PTI government, as part of its policy to overcome economic crisis, has set an overwhelming target of Rs 5,555 billion revenue collection via taxes along imposition of controls on expenditure with the aim of reducing primary deficit to 0.6% of GDP.
Thus, in the wake of what seems on the face value economically which has been compounded by recently concerted efforts of the opposition political parties to replace the incumbent government, it seems like it’s hoping against hope to see Pakistan making its way out of economic quagmire in near future. However, this is not the case as it’s like judging a book by its cover. In reality, Pakistan’s economic prospects are brighter than ever before in the wake of pace of development that is going on in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects, especially in Gwadar port development. It’s a matter of short time for Pakistan’s economy to bounce back from economic void.
Here, it is important to bring in readers’ attention that CPEC is an economic project between Pakistan and China having a worth of $46 billion and it is an offshoot of China’s vision of One Belt, One Road (OBOR). OBOR is a China’s vision to connect itself with Asia and Europe through a network of roads and maritime routes. Chinese President Xi envisaged the vision of OBOR for China’s global connectivity in 2013. To actualize OBOR, China has been working on six economic corridors around the globe in which CPEC is one of them. CPEC is 15 years economic project that will last from 2015 to 2030 and will be executed in four phases. Currently, the project is in second phase.
Moreover, under CPEC, China wants to connect its Northwestern city Kashgar with Gwadar in South of Pakistan through a network of highways, railways, and natural gas and oil pipelines. Once the corridor becomes actualized, it will act as a doorway for trade among China, Africa and Middle East. The upside for China in CPEC is that it will lower the cost of oil transactions for China from Middle East as, prior to CPEC, China had to cover 12,000 km distance in order to make an oil transaction which was quite costly because of large distance but, via Gwadar port, the cost of oil transaction will lower down because of short route.
In addition to that, as part of CPEC, a huge investment is going on in Gwadar as it is the port in Gwadar that will connect China with around 65 to 70 countries across the globe. For this, Gwadar is being turned into a global metropolitan that can deal effectively with all international transactions. Development of Gwadar is one the core areas of investment in CPEC.
Business firms across China are investing in various capacities to make Gwadar a well-developed trade zone in future through logistics and Infrastructural development.
The other day, the China Overseas Ports Holding Ltd invested US $250 Million and built a 25-acre modern Industrial Park in Gwadar Port Free Zone. The free zone has reportedly all the basic amenities of life. It is equipped with well-paved roads, sanitized water pipes, 24/7 electricity, telecommunication services in the likes of internet and telephone, security fence and waste disposal facilities. Business firms are in competition with one another to invest in Gwadar Port Free Zone because Gwadar promises to pay in huge returns due to its economic potential in near future. The rising pace of investment in Gwadar Port Free Zone can be testified from the fact that more than thirty business firms across Pakistan and China have made 3 billion yuan of direct investment in the free zone. These investments have been made in hotel, bank, insurance, financial leasing, logistics, overseas warehousing, grain and oil processing, aquatic product processing, and home appliances assembly. Such is the pace of development going on in Gwadar which is the core project of CPEC. There is no gainsaying the fact that the yearly output value of these investments will exceed 5 billion once they become operational which will be a boon for businesses who have invested in Gwadar.
The geo-economic and geo-strategic significance of Gwadar port has made Gwadar a point of investment for businesses across Pakistan and China. This is good for Pakistan in general and Balochistan in particular which though is the largest province of Pakistan, yet that is the least developed province as compared to other provinces of Pakistan. Gwadar’s development will certainly impact development of Balochistan.
To turn CPEC into reality via development of Gwadar city and play an active role in the development of Balochistan, almost all the businesses have been investing in general; however, Rafi Group, in particular, has outstood among all businesses in its commitment to turn Gwadar into a global metropolitan. For readers’ convenience, Rafi Group is a real estate firm that was established in 1978 and has headquarter in Lahore. The firm is currently running Green Palms Gwadar which is a housing project. Green Palms Gwadar is located in Gwadar city on prime land adjacent to the Makran Coastal Highway.
It is worth sharing here that Rafi Group was the first business group which, quite earlier than the launch of CPEC, invested in Gwadar with the sole aim of uplifting the livelihood of the people of Gawadar and is currently running a housing scheme in Gwadar with all basic facilities in the likes of mosque, community club, postal services, spacious lush green parks, lawnsand educational institutions. Moreover, it has systems such as underground electricity, sewerage disposal mechanism, fresh water supply along quality infrastructure and modern telecommunication network which keeps the environment of Green Palms clean, modern and worth inspiration.
One other distinction that makes Rafi group outstanding among businesses in Gwadar is that Green Palms Gwadar is located in the mainstream city of Gwadar which gives it an edge to play an active role in development of Gwadar as compared to other businesses with respect to providing a housing scheme that is safe, secure and environmental friendly.
Green Palms Gwadar is playing a key role in development of Gwadar keeping in view its centrality in global trade in upcoming times and this is vision of Rafi Group for running Green Palms Gwadar.
Here, it is important to mention that getting returns on investment in Gwadar for businesses is like growing a Chinese bamboo tree which does not grow instantly. It is said about the bamboo tree that once it is sown, it takes five years for the seed of the tree to break the ground. However, once it sprouts, it turns into 90 feet tall bamboo tree within five weeks.
Similarly, businesses investing in Gwadar may not get instant results; however, once Gwadar port gets operational, businesses will thrive like bamboo tree within months. Gwadar provides most lucrative prospects to businesses as with each passing year the returns on investments are becoming doubled.
Lastly, the rising trend of investments being made by businesses in Gwadar which will certainly help in actualization of CPEC sooner than later carries a message in its lap that best days for Pakistan’s economy are yet to come and it’s not all over yet!