CHINESE Consul General in Lahore, in an interview, has reaffirmed commitment of his country to invest in Pakistan in a big way to help accelerate the pace of socio-economic development. Long Dingbin said China is planning to eventually provide multiple forms of bailout packages to Pakistan.
According to the Chinese official, the packages will be in the shape of phenomenal investment in fresh projects, broadening the area of inclusive cooperation and tapping new avenues of collaboration under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). There is no doubt that Pakistan is currently facing financial crunch and badly needs hard cash but it is also a fact that the country ultimately will have to stand on its own feet instead of perpetual reliance on foreign loans. The loans increase the debt burden and the country is increasingly finding it difficult to pay them back and that is why most of the loans it gets now are meant to repay the earlier ones. Under these circumstances, Pakistan needs assistance in the form of investment in sectors that could improve its economic growth. The point raised by the Consul General that out of 22 projects under the CPEC, only four carried concessional loan and the rest 18 are investment-based and would not add to the debt burden of Pakistan. This also nullifies foreign inspired propaganda that CPEC would place more economic and financial pressure on Pakistan. Most of the projects under CPEC relate to infrastructure development and upgradation besides ensuring improved availability of energy and all this would surely help attract local and foreign investors. China and Pakistan have also agreed to expand the scope of assistance under CPEC and this opportunity should be availed by seeking Chinese cooperation in developing industrial and agriculture base of the country to increase productivity and produce surplus for exports. It would also be advisable for the Government to enter into negotiations with other countries as well to attract investment in different sectors of the economy. China is making investment irrespective of security threats and other issues but in order to convince other countries and investors to make Pakistan one of their choicest destinations, the Government will have to work hard to improve investment climate.