ISLAMABAD - Disagreeing with the notion that CPEC is a game changer, former governor of State Bank of Pakistan, Dr Ishrat Hussain on Monday said that the project is an opportunity for prosperity of people of Pakistan.

Dr Ishrat Hussain stated this while talking to the media after launch of his book titled “CPEC and Pakistan Economy: An Appraisal” published by CPEC Center of Excellence here. He said, “Now it depends on us that how we take advantage of this opportunity (CPEC).”

Earlier, addressing the book launching ceremony, former State Bank governor said, “If there had been no energy shortage in 2010 and the bottlenecks of energy sector had been removed, Pakistan’s exports could have been easily reached $36 billion from current level of $21 billion and the country would not have faced problems in shape of current account deficit (CAD).”

He said that the Chinese had invested $35 billion under 1994 energy policy introduced by former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and after improving energy supply the country’s exports gone up by 19 percent.

He said that Pakistan can maximise benefits from the corridor project if China relocates its industry, saying private sectors of both sides could establish joint ventures in proposed Special Economic Zones (SEZs).

Ishrat Hussain said that CPEC is God gifted opportunity through which Pakistan could transform itself from low income to middle income brackets among the world community. “We can request China for transfer of technology,” he said. China had increased its per capita income from $9000 to $30,000 and there was need to grasp arising opportunities of CPEC, he added.

Regarding the caretaker Prime Minister, he said that it would be good development for the country if government and opposition struck agreement on consensus candidate for upcoming interim prime minister in caretaker setup.

Dr Ishrat Hussain said that it will be good sign for the country if the matter is resolved amicably and government and opposition agreed on name of any man or woman for caretaker premier. In case they failed then it would be referred to parliamentary parties and finally the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) would take decision.

In reply to a query that whether anyone had contacted him in this regard, he said that he had not been contacted by anyone and he was reading stories appearing in press on this subject.

Addressing the ceremony, China’s Ambassador to Pakistan Yao Jing said that CPEC demonstrates Chinese confidence on Pakistan as Beijing considers it as appropriate place for investment destined for prosperity and progress. “CPEC is just beginning and we are confident that it will bring prosperity in Pakistan,” he added. He said that the CPEC was new level of cooperation as under Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), it was only CPEC which was under execution as bilateral project between Pakistan and China. He said that Board of Investment (BOI) was working on establishment of SEZs and China wanted to go ahead with joint venture (JVs) to make it success.

PR adds: “CPEC and Pakistani Economy: An Appraisal” is a combined effort of Dr Ishrat Husain and Centre of Excellence-CPEC, Islamabad to disseminate the most updated and authentic information about CPEC. Centre of Excellence-CPEC is sure that this booklet will go a long way by serving its effort to reach out all the relevant quarters and stakeholders including masses to know about the ongoing and futuristic projects of CPEC.

Shoaib A Siddiqui, Secretary (MoPDR), Hassan Daud, project director (CPEC), Sumaira Nazir Siddiqui, secretary Board of Investment, Dr Safdar A Sohail, director general (National Institute of Management), Dr Shahid Rashid, executive director (CoE-CPEC), other dignitaries, academicians and scholars were also present on the occasion.