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CPEC boosts opportunity for Pakistan: experts

Karachi – The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will play a great role in eradicating poverty in Pakistan by creating many employment and business opportunities, Muhammad Irfan, assistant professor of Economics at Comsats University Islamabad, said recently.

“You will need warehouses, factories, hotels, houses, hospitals, and schools along the roads built under CPEC. The important thing about CPEC is that it passes through a region where Pakistan has not spent much so far. It will remove the disparity between the regions. If the disparity decreases and income opportunities increase and deprived people have the option to earn well, it will change Pakistan as a whole,” Irfan told Xinhua.

About 29.7 percent of Pakistan’s population of more than 200 million are living below the poverty line, an Asian Development Bank report showed. The country has been declared highly exposed to poverty by the World Bank and the issue has always remained a big challenge for policymakers.

Shafqatullah came all the way from Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province to the country’s capital of Islamabad to earn a living for himself and his six-member family.

“I belong to a very poor village where people don’t even have enough food to eat, let alone employment or education opportunities. Here I work at a motorbike repair shop where my boss trains me to repair motorbikes and gives me a stipend of some 200 rupees ($1.5) every day.”

Talking to Xinhua in front of the shop, Shafqatullah said that he aspires to open his own shop one day and he will employ young men like himself who had to leave their families for employment opportunities in big cities.

Experts believe that multiple factors, including huge population growth, natural disasters that cause great economic loss, economic instability and income gaps, are the major factors contributing to poverty in the country.

Suggesting quick measures the government could take to relieve poverty, Irfan said that poverty is closely connected with food consumption and income generation, so the government and private sectors should create more part-time work opportunities to increase people’s income.

The new Pakistani government has announced mega projects including construction of dams and multi-million dollar housing projects, Irfan said, adding that if the government keeps its promise and initiates these projects quickly, they will provide employment for a large number of people as both housing construction and dams require a big labor force, in addition to engineers, architects and business people.

“If it continues at the same pace, you will see in two or three years that there is a higher growth rate, decrease in unemployment, and improvement in balance of payment,” Irfan added.

“Monitoring Desk”

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