May 282017

This refers to the letter, ‘Be prepared’ (May 26) by Nida Anser. The writer has aptly pointed out the possible effects of CPEC on our trade balance. Policymakers argue that once CPEC projects are completed, the returns and earnings from these projects will take care of the trade deficit, and the country will have a surplus trade balance. That may happen in the long-run, but in the short-run we will have to struggle hard. The economic survey presented by the finance minister gives a dismal picture of the country’s trade deficit.

The CPEC project is a double-edged weapon. It can be a win-win situation for the country’s economic growth – it can create infrastructure and industrial zones, generate employment and enhance agricultural production – but the benefits will only be reaped if the government keeps everything transparent. It must be emphasised that the project can be a real game changer for the country if policymakers guard the country’s national interest and keep an eye on the returns of all projects under CPEC. The labour force and technical experts of the country must also be duly trained and utilised. If the country fails to take correct steps, it is most likely to end under a huge debt trap and a perennial trade deficit with not only China but with the rest of the world as well.

Zaheer Ahmed


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