Utilising natural resources can help ‘bid IMF goodbye

Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed has said that by utilising “our natural resources, we can bid goodbye” to the International Monetary Fund’s handouts.

“If we truly exploit and utilise our mineral wealth, natural gas, and offshore blue economy, cumulatively worth almost a trillion dollars, Pakistan can bid goodbye to the International Monetary Fund handouts, which we have received for 23 times, without bringing about quality change,” the senator said while addressing the workers of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) projects in Sindh on Sunday.

The parliamentary delegation was led by Senator Mushahid Hussain Syed, the chairman of the Senate Defence Committee and the Pakistan-China Institute (PCI). It included MNA Mahesh Mailani, Senator Dr Zarqa Suhrwardhy, MNA Qaiser Sheikh, Senator Qurratul Ain Marri, MNA Muhammad Abubakr and Senator Muhammad Akram Baloch.

The parliamentarians lauded the CPEC projects in Sindh, terming Thar as the “bulwark of Pakistan’s future energy security”.

China’s total investment has been $26 billion, generating 85,000 jobs, including 12,000 in Thar, plus 28,000 Pakistani students now study in China, resulting in a huge socioeconomic transformation of the country, thanks to CPEC.

During the three-day visit, the delegation first visited the Power China project at Port Qasim, which generates 1,320 megawatts of electricity. Power China CEO Guo welcomed the delegation and briefed them on the project.

The Port Qasim power plant, an early harvest project of CPEC, provides electricity to over four million homes through clean energy, and it emits environment-friendly white smoke, using supercritical technology.

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On day two, the delegation flew to Thar where it first conducted a tour of the Sindh Electric Coal Mining Company, which is a joint private-public partnership with the support of the Sindh government and China, and observed Thar women driving dumper trucks. The delegation also visited the new 1,320MW power plant established with the investment from Shanghai Electric.

Speaking to the workers of CPEC projects at Port Qasim and Thar, Senator Mushahid termed CPEC as the “single most transformative initiative for economic development in the last 30 years, as it provided a basis for energy security, employment, and changing lives as well as livelihoods of the people of Pakistan”.

He said that Pakistan’s huge natural resources, including mineral wealth, natural gas and maritime wealth, needed to be exploited for the blue economy. Thar alone has 175 billion tons of coal reserves, more than the oil reserves of Iran and Saudi Arabia put together, he said, adding that thanks to CPEC, this “black gold” was now contributing to the national economy.

The natural gas reserves in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) were several times higher than the reserves in Sui, the senator said. He urged the need to change the national economic priorities instead of policies that undermined national sovereignty and people’s dignity.

The parliamentarians belonging to different political parties lauded CPEC as a guarantor of a better tomorrow for Pakistan and thanked China, as a trusted “all-weather friend”, for reposing such confidence in the future of Pakistan by investing in CPEC projects in Pakistan.

They also lauded the role of the companies in promoting people-centric development through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

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