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Home » Quetta

Balochistan needs sound economic policies to face today’s economic challenges: BEF

QUETTA/KARACHI: Balochistan Economic Forum emphasizing on the provincial Government to spend budgetary provisions on economic-related projects, human resource development and laying the foundation of future economic development of Balochistan. While the increase in provincial revenue has since helped the province significantly spike its development investment from its own resources, it has not done much to stimulate economic growth.

According to an advisory The investment scenario in Balochistan is now bright because of foreign investors’ interest in economic development of abundant resources in mineral, fisheries, agriculture & livestock sectors, and the province could develop into a major trading and business hub, as the potential of Balochistan is now widely understood.

Active and aggressive private sector development is one opportunity of enormous importance to Balochistan in particular for accomplishment of economic development in the province, the Provincial Government should take appropriate steps on priority basis for the exploitation of natural resources, as the delay in effective use of resources will keep industrial activities in Balochistan at low profile. Balochistan should take the opportunity and encourage the private sector, and should invite foreign investors in different sectors.

The Balochistan Economic Forum highlighted that the Balochistan government must find new and dependable sources of income to reduce its dependence on the federal government for its financial needs, the financial problems in Balochistan should be an eye opener for the political leadership & economic planners of the province, and it is high time that they should draw a comprehensive economic and Governance strategy that would facilitate tackling of the economic challenges requiring the urgent attention of the leadership, and also consider seriously preparing a strong economic foundation to get rid of total dependence on the federal divisible pool.

It is pertinent to note that Balochistan’s share in the country’s tax income has spiked by almost eight times from Rs29bn in 2009/2010 to Rs220bn in the estimated provincial revenue receipts for the next fiscal year following the implementation of the 7th National Finance award in 2010-2011.

The Balochistan government should widen its revenue base by encouraging direct foreign investments in the province and seeking the International Economic Aid Agencies and Multilateral Institution’s support in the socio-economic development of the province with the cooperation of the federal government, therefore, current political leadership in Balochistan should strongly support foreign direct investment, and importantly, also ensure that the message is reflected in bureaucratic policies and procedures.

Balochistan has now occupied centre stage in the national narrative is its centrality in the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Surely, the success of CPEC hinges on the successful development of the Gwadar port, which would be very difficult to achieve without the support of the locals. Seen purely through the lens of realpolitik, CPEC is not just a game changer for Pakistan, but also a game changer for the historically neglected province of Balochistan.

The province has countless prospects of economic growth under the sphere of CPEC, while the strategic importance of Gwadar Port is to open new vistas for economic development of the province of Balochistan, as it would help province of Balochistan become a strategic business hub of the region, and It gives new impetus to Pakistan-China relations.

The Chinese companies from different sectors will invest in the macro and micro level projects in Gwadar port city and other areas of Balochistan. The commitment of Chinese companies in engaging local population for the Chinese projects is very encouraging indictor for the socio-economic development.

Under the Federal budget 2017-18, Gwadar has received better attention in terms of allocation of more resources and funds for its development. Gwadar will have a reasonable share in the Rs120 billion allocated for the CPEC projects; however, there is a dire need to complete the Gwadar Port projects earlier so that port becomes operational in shortest possible time.

The government has to create a more conducive environment in the Gwadar Port city for development, so that investors can look beyond real-estate business, the Chinese investments have given confidence to the local tribes and now local and International investors are considering their direct participation in the economic development of the province. The prosperity of Pakistan is linked with the economic development and prosperity of Balochistan, as it is a strategically located province, which enhances Pakistan’s geopolitical importance in the region, since. Gwadar has an immense strategic lure; the Balochistan Economic Forum believes that the government would announce without further delay special incentives in declaring Gwadar a free zone.

With the absence of basic infrastructure for future development, there is scarcity of water, power, gas, roads and other means of communication; particularly water deficiency is in every human settlement of Balochistan (Around 29 districts of the province). The political leadership of Balochistan will have to wage an economic war at all possible fronts to bring economic and industrial revolution and improve the quality of life in the province.

A political and professional initiative on the part of the provincial government at this phase would make it able to prepare sound economic foundation for the province. The need of the hour is to develop the necessary infrastructure with the help of International Development and supporting agencies that can help boost the private sector Investments in the region and to attract the foreign investors to explore and utilize the natural resources available in the province. The economic assistance has become very competitive as more and more under-developed countries are approaching the International institutions for the support as such a very skilled marketing strategy is required even to win over the required economic assistance in the present time.

Balochistan Economic Forum since its inception has played important role in attracting foreign investments in the province of Balochistan. The Forum has organized several Seminars – Conferences on different economic related topics and issues with an aim to familiarize the National & International economic community with opportunities for trade and investments in Balochistan.

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