by Misbah Saba Malik
ISLAMABAD, April 11 (Xinhua) -- Benifitting from the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), local people's life, especially those living in Pakistan's southwest Gwadar, would get improved for vast economic opportunities, Chairman of the Gwadar Port Authority (GPA) Naseer Khan Kashani has said.
Talking to Chinese media in Gwadar recently, Kashani said that the Gwadar port would prove to be a heaven for local and foreign investors as it is located at a focal place at the Belt and Road Initiative, and offers a lot of favors to the investors.
The newly appointed chairman said that Gwadar's development under CPEC is remarkable, and Gwadar, which was once a remote fishing village, is opening up to the world. "A few years ago, I came for official meeting here, Gwadar did not have the kind of buildings that I see today. When I visited last time it was giving the look of a port with a distant future."
He attributed the fast development and brisk transformation in Gwadar to its operator the China Overseas Port Holding Company (COPHC), which has started to restore the port since 2013. "The pace was slow initially in 2005-2013. Consider it as a plane taxiing. But now, with COPHC, the port is extending, and more investors are coming in."
The GPA and COPHC recently held an industrial expo to attract local and foreign investors. Over 100 companies participated in the two-day event and there are high chances of individual investments and joint ventures in the near future. Kashani said that they will keep on holding a number of expos in the next few years to introduce Gwadar to investors and traders.
"(We want) everybody to come in and chip in, and have their contribution towards the development of Gwadar," adding the port city is significant to the success of CPEC.
The GPA chairman said that Gwadar is at an important location from which the industrial goods can be taken to Asia, Europe, Africa and Latin America through a designated route, without any hassle.
Apart from it, the GPA does not impose any demurrage charges, "which is not actually conceivable in an operational port all around the globe as demurrage charges is one of the things which makes revenue," he said.
Talking about the welfare of local community brought by the development of Gwadar, Kashani said that the GPA is going to give a lot of support to local unemployed youth by enabling them to get good jobs after providing them skills.
A Pak-China vocational training institute has been being planned in Gwadar, which will provide basic training to unskilled youth to equip them with the necessary skill required for the port operations. "We would like to give local population better jobs. We would like to include them in pace of development that we are thinking about," he said.
The GPA is also uplifting the condition of local fishermen by giving them better equipment to replace their traditional fishing methods with modern techniques.
"Their (fishermen) lives will be changed. The living standard can go up, once you have more money, you can have better boats for fishing, you can go and use the technology also in a more efficient and better manner. So, it will open up a lot of avenues for them and instead of relying on the traditional method of fishing. They can have larger and more technologically advanced boats. So it can actually help them and their livelihood," the GPA chairman said.