LAHORE -  A delegation of Asian Development Bank (ABD), led by Peter Turner,  on Wednesday visited Lahore Transport Company (LTC) Headquarter to review transport projects initiated by the government.

During the meeting, the LTC officials and ADB representatives were of the view that development in transport sector is deemed indispensable for robust economy of any country. By keeping in view the public private partnership model, Pakistan has enabling environment for the foreign investors and potential to unleash the available investment opportunities, the LTC officials said. National transport policy master plan, national road safety programme, road assets management is vital for enabling economic corridors through sustainable  transport sector development for realising the Pakistan’s vision 2025, they added. The objective of visiting various government departments is to ascertain the views and priorities of the provinces, the ADB members said.

The meeting was attended by Peter Turner, Trade Facilitation Specialist David Hunter, LTC CEO Khawaja Haider Latif, Mott McDonald Deputy Team Leader Mahboob Elahi, CFO Mariam Khawar, COO Zafar Qureshi and DM Communication Nasir Hussain.

On the occasion, the LTC CEO briefed the delegation about the new initiatives and existing projects of public interest in respect of public transportation improvement in the city. He said that the LTC was proposing the new projects in upcoming development programme such as drivers training simulator programme, school buses project, provision of installing new bus sheds for public transport infrastructure. He said, “At present we are providing free transport facilities to the handicapped and senior citizens on LTC buses while flat one sided concessional fare to students of public sector educational institutes by issuing student green cards.”

“LTC expanded the urban transportation system by regulating the public transport through careful planning and enforcing the relevant laws in Lahore. LTC is imparting affordable, efficient and economical transport facilities to the general public by plying air conditioned CNG buses on urban routes and on adjacent areas of Lahore,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ADB delegation called on LCCI President Abdul Basit and discussed a number of issues including National Transportation Policy, Economic development of Pakistan, business climate in the country and china Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Turner said that effectiveness of transportation system is directly related to the trade and economic activities. He said that inefficiencies in the performance of the transport sector of Pakistan costs economy by 4pc to 6pc of the GDP annually. He said that Asian Development Bank has been assisting Pakistan to address this issue but investment in transportation infrastructure must be backed by the institutional improvement.

On China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), he said that it is important project that would help connect Iran, Turkey, Central Asian States and Afghanistan etc. He said that to get good result from CPEC, good transportation system is a must for the movement of trading goods.

The LCCI president said that National transport policy will supplement the government’s efforts to improve transport infrastructure that would help enhance local and regional trade. He said that well planned, safe, better maintained, and regionally connected transport infrastructure is the key to unlocking the economic growth potential of Pakistan.

He said it is good to see that seaports, rail network, motorways, tunnels and bridges etc are being developed by spending billions of rupees to support the future requirements of intra-regional trade. He said that the current infrastructural development has opened many avenues to expand the trade links to Central Asian Republics and on the other hand to Turkey via road and sea routes.

Basit said that Pakistan has acceded the TIR Convention 1975 last year and this year its implementation is scheduled which will facilitate international carriage of goods by road under harmonised system of International Road Transport Union IRU/TIR. He said, “We are worried about low ranking in one of the factors of Ease of Doing Business ie called ‘Trading Across Borders’. As per World Bank Report 2017, Pakistan stands at 172 out of 192 countries.

He said that on April 6, 2017, the government has approved the cross-border trade reforms to be implemented in different phases which will help Pakistan improve its ranking. However, the gap between suggestive measures and ground realities has to be minimised to achieve the desired results. He said that these factors have further necessitated the need of having well thought out National Transport Policy. LCCI Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa and Zeeshan Khalil also spoke on the occasion.