THE AUXILIARY BENEFITS OF CPEC

INTRODUCTION

On the face of it the CPEC seems to be a project with three pillars: connectivity, energy and industrial collaboration. However one must delve deeper into the folds of this mammoth investment to realize the auxiliary benefits that the Corridor will bring not only to Pakistan but also to countries such as Iran and those in Central Asia. The chief auxiliary benefit is perhaps that of the employment being generated. Contrary to common perception that CPEC projects hire exclusively Chinese workers the Ministry for Planning has made clear that this is merely misinformation and that the number of Chinese workers has never crossed the 25% mark. The International Labour Organisation has contended that the CPEC will generate around 400,000 employment opportunities in Pakistan whereas the Applied Economics Research Center has estimated 700,000 jobs for Pakistan between 2015 and 2030 and an addition of 2 to 2.5 points of economic growth to the country. Planning Ministry estimates have taken this figure even higher to 800,000.

BURGEONING EMPLOYMENT

Most of the workforce employed in these projects consists of engineers and skilled labour. This demand will cause an increase in technical education for such jobs vastly improving the quality of human resource in the country. The Pakistan Observer reports that Port Qasim Coal Power Project has contributed the largest to employment figures, creating 5000 jobs in the region with Sahiwal and Bahawalpur power projects at a close second. The impending inauguration of the Suki Kinari and Karot hydroelectric projects also promises to be a boon for civil and electrical engineers in the region. The CPEC has also brought with it the widespread construction of transportation infrastructure such as roads, railways and the Gwadar airport etc. All of these projects have also created many jobs with the Multan-Sukkur highway employing an estimated 9800. The construction and setting up of economic zones, Orange Line Train Project, port authorities etc. will also provide a welcome upsurge for employment prospects in Pakistan. Additionally steel and cement producing firms will also see an upswing in a demand for their produce with increased infrastructure development in Pakistan. Gwadar Port has massive potential for employment. At 26 million tons of cargo Karachi Port employs 4748 workers and 315 officers. Au contraire, Gwadar has a port capacity of 400 million tons. Proportionally speaking Gwadar will employ a large number of staff for its smooth operation.

THE NODE CITY ANGLE

Moreover, with increased connectivity Pakistan’s niche regional industries will also be highlighted, especially near the node cities along the CPEC route. These include the marble industry near Mardan, surgical instruments and sports equipment industry in Sialkot, textile industry in Faisalabad and fresh fruit exports for Balochistan amongst others. Businesses will greatly benefit from improved connectivity making distances shorter and cheaper to cover. Furthermore the inflow of increased imports and Chinese firms into the country will create local competitors. This will save the local industry from complacency and keep it on its toes due to high quality international competition. A relevant example in this regard will be the entry of PetroChina in Pakistan and the challenges it will pose to Pakistan State Oil.

Reference:

Webmaster. “CPEC Projects Create over 30,000 Jobs.” PakObserver, 7 June 2017, pakobserver.net/cpec-projects-create-30000-jobs/.
Webmaster. “CPEC Projects Create over 30,000 Jobs.” PakObserver, 7 June 2017, pakobserver.net/cpec-projects-create-30000-jobs/.
“Karachi Port.” KPT RSS, kpt.gov.pk/pages/default.aspx?id=43.

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