Trade: (Business community supports Govt decision to include Turkmenistan in CPEC)

March 17, 2016 Off By Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: President Pakistan Businessmen and Intellectuals Forum (PBIF), President AKIA, First Vice Chairman of the Businessmen Panel of FPCCI and former provincial minister Mian Zahid Hussain on Friday lauded the move of the government to include brotherly Muslim country of Turkmenistan in the economic corridor project.

He said the decision will bring two countries closer, and ensure peace and prosperity in the region through enhancement in bilateral trade which is currently well below potential. He said that decision is part of the vision of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif which is unconditionally supported by the business community of the country.

He said Pakistan provides shortest trade route to central Asian states while all these countries can forge a powerful trade block to trigger new era of affluence which require focus on visa and trade restrictions, improved air connectivity and security as well as upgradation of land routes.

Mian Zahid Hussain said that financing local component of economic corridor is beyond the reach of local financial market. Banks are not properly equipped for the project as 2700 km road from Gwadar to Kashgar will require funding for infrastructure, energy projects, allied SMEs, transportation, and special economic zones etc.

He said around Rs 1.5 trillion will be needed for this while banks have already provided loans worth Rs 4.6 trillion to private sector therefore it would be difficult for them to meet further requirements.

Banks should focus on capital markets to raise funds, he said, adding that some elements are trying to make the corridor project controversial which is against the national interests as China is not short of other options, therefore CPEC opportunity should not be lost in any case.