Human resources development mandatory for growth: Ahsan Iqbal

ISLAMABAD: Planning Development and Reforms Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Thursday stressed the need for developing human resources and resolved to put the country on the path of progress as well as bringing it among the comity of developed nations.

While addressing the inaugural session of the 31st annual general meeting and conference organised by Pakistan Society of Development Economic, he said that no country could prosper without a sizeable investment in its human resource development.

He pointed out that the human resources were ignored in the past and as a result the country could not sustain its economic growth and that the present government had allocated huge funds for primary to higher-level education, which would help improve the country’s economic situation. While commenting on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said, this vital project would benefit all the provinces equally and change the fate of over three billion people living in the region. Ahsan Iqbal said that the CPEC initiative would connect the entire region and benefit other countries of the region as well as interlinking the region with modern infrastructure to change the fate of underdeveloped and vulnerable half of population of the region.

“The CPEC has transformational impact on the regional prosperity and it is a unique project as all governments and political parties had equally contributed in the project. The Corridor was a fusion of multiple developments in the global, regional, bilateral and domestic contexts,” he said.

The ultimate objective was peace, prosperity and well being of the people of the two countries, the region and the world, he remarked.

“We seek to position ourselves from a lower middle income country to high middle income country and in order to achieve this goal and create new employment opportunities for the labour force. It aims to target a growth rate of 8 percent between 2018 and 2025 with single digit inflation and also seeks to increase exports, tax-GDP ratio, investment through domestic saving and foreign saving in the long run,” he said.

The minister said only one democratic government had completed its term and that the country remained under military rule for about 35 years. Democracy and strengthening of democratic institution would take the country towards progress and development. About the development of energy sector, he informed, the Diamir Bhasha Dam was the most important project yet and it would likely be a part of the second phase of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Ahsan Iqbal said that the project was a life or death situation for Pakistan as it would not only generate 4500 megawatts of electricity but would also serve as a huge water reservoir for the country. He said that the land acquisition process for the project had been finalised with a cost of Rs 104 billion and by the next year, the government would start construction work on the project.

The Minister informed, a number of energy project were on the advance stage of completion and most of them would be completed by the end of 2017 or in the start of 2018, so there would be no energy shortage by 2018. He said with the cooperation of China, a South-West transmission line project was also under constructions as the country’s existing transmission system was not capable to bear a load of electricity more than 16,000 Megawatts.

The country’s economy was in a take-off position as its macro-economic indicators were improving which had also been endorsed by the world’s renowned financial institution. The leadership of democratic powers, military, judiciary and civil society were on the same page due to which big successes were being achieved in the war against terror, he said, adding that the country was becoming democratically stable which would bring consistency in its policies.

Paksitan Instutute of Development Economics Vice Chancellor Asad Zaman in his opening remarks welcomed the minister and briefed the audience about the institution and its achievements.

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