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“CPEC is not a game-changer, it’s game over”

Interview: Kaiser Bengali

“CPEC is not a  game-changer, it’s game over”

Kaiser Bengali is a senior economist who has served as advisor to the chief minister Balochistan as well as consultant/national coordinator for Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP), Government of Pakistan. Besides, he has headed research institutions including Social Policy and Development Centre (SPDC), Karachi, and Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Islamabad. He has done his Masters in Economics from Boston University, USA, and has a PhD from Karachi University. He has vast experience in the fields of teaching, research, publications and finance.

Here he talks to The News on Sunday (TNS) about the country’s economic policies, the priorities of those managing the economy, the economic challenges faced at local and international levels, the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and its relationship with Gwadar, development of the social sector, our falling exports and foreign reserves and other related topics. Excerpts of the interview follow:

The News on Sunday (TNS): The sitting government regularly boasts of robust growth figures. Are these real?

Kaiser Bengali (KB): I would simply say Ishaq Dar, who had been heading the team, follows a revenue-based approach to show growth and his focus is on increasing taxes. The result of this is that those already in the tax net get further burdened. The World Bank is also pressuring the government to increase revenue collection. We can call it a neo-liberal economy. The policies are nothing but patchwork and are quite similar to those pursued by Shaukat Aziz.

Shaukat Aziz would probably claim Pakistan was becoming a services-oriented economy. But my point is that for a country of 200 million, it is not a good choice to have two-thirds of it unskilled. This country needs jobs for which the manufacturing sector will have to be strengthened. Even Donald Trump is talking about reviving manufacturing and creating jobs this way.

The growth figures shared with us do not have any credibility as there is no reliable data to back them. In fact, the calculations are based mainly on the revenue collected and not on other important indicators that should have been considered.

As I said earlier, the World Bank is a party to all this so it does not question the credibility of these figures. Here I would quote the example of the livestock survey presented by the government which is completely flawed and based on estimates. Much after the results were revealed, we found that no proper ground work was conducted to reach the conclusions they were claiming.

The government just paints a flowery picture: so while sharing the attractive growth figures, they do not share that the manufacturing and agricultural sectors are nosediving. The growth of manufacturing should be around eight per cent but in Pakistan it is just four-and-a-half per cent per annum. Similarly, the growth of agriculture sector has hovered around one per cent per annum on average and there have been times when it has experienced negative growth as well. The government must explain why this is happening; especially why a purely agriculturally country cannot even feed its agro-based industry properly. It is common knowledge that the cotton crop has suffered in the past couple of years. The growth of the manufacturing sector is vital as it helps reduce unemployment but unfortunately it is not a priority here.

“I think our economy can best be described as a casino economy. This means that we are investing in real estate, stocks etc. in anticipation of high returns within a small span of time; there are no long-term goals in sight. Manufacturing is constantly on the decline so the domestic demand is fulfilled by importing products from abroad.”

TNS: In the current scenario, what do you think are the driving forces of our economy?

KB: I think our economy can best be described as a casino economy. This means that we are investing in real estate, stocks etc. in anticipation of high returns within a small span of time; there are no long-term goals in sight. Manufacturing is constantly on the decline so the domestic demand is fulfilled by importing products from abroad. Even in this process, easy and quick money is made by importers by under-invoicing and evading duties in collusion with the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) officials.

There is hardly any realisation about how dangerous this practice can be for the country’s economy and its manufacturing sector. It’s pitiful that while importers are being facilitated, manufacturers are getting crushed. The cost of doing business is too high and it’s a fact that they have to pay different taxes whose value adds up to around 51 per cent.

Even worse is the government’s habit of seeking expensive loans and raising funds through floating financial products such as Euro Bonds and Sukuk Bonds in the international market. The promised rate of return is too high when compared to similar products launched by other countries. After launching such products, the government claims success, stating these have been oversubscribed in the international market. It’s a matter of common sense to understand that buyers rush for products that offer an exorbitant rate of return. The real test of the government will be when these mature and it has to pay dividends to the buyers.

TNS: The PML-N government promised an end to the power crisis. How successful have they been?

KB: Yes, it’s true that they capitalised on this promise and got political mileage out of it. They are pursuing several projects but my point is that the basic issues persist and are yet to be resolved. For example, the circular debt is once again out of control and close to Rs800 billion.

When the incumbent government came into power, it printed currency notes to pay off the circular debt. This solved nothing. You see the problem is still there and it will remain there till the structural issues of the power sector are resolved. It is not possible to produce expensive electricity and sell it for less than its cost, and at the same time offer preferential tariffs to certain sectors. Power theft and line losses further add to the burden.

The Chinese companies play smart and get excellent returns on their investments. It has proven difficult to extract much from them. China has a 10-year control of the Saindak Copper and Gold Project and gets gold as a by-product of the mining.

TNS: A lot of hopes are pinned on CPEC. Do you think it can really be the game-changer?

KB: I do not think Pakistan will gain a lot from the CPEC initiative which is still shrouded in mystery. There are no details available and the government is not ready to answer any questions. Instead of a game-changer; CPEC may signify a game over. I see the Corridor creating threats for local businesses and fear that it won’t be a win-win situation for both countries.

For example, since Chinese companies are tax-exempt they will bring everything from China and hence they will have no reliance on Pakistani businesses to fulfil their demands. This has shattered the dreams of many local companies that planned to expand their production facilities in anticipation of receiving orders from these Chinese companies. The association of cable operators in Pakistan is one such entity that was expecting a big boost in its sale volumes, but now they are struggling to sustain their existing sale figures.

The Chinese companies play smart and get excellent returns on their investments. It has proven difficult to extract much from them. China has a 10-year control of the Saindak Copper and Gold Project and gets gold as a by-product of the mining. Also, China does not share how much ore it is taking from Pakistan or how much copper it is extracting or what is the quality of gold obtained as a by-product. And nobody can ask them these questions.

They will definitely watch their interest this time also, so it becomes the duty of the government to secure the country’s interests. I raised this issue and presented 12 questions on CPEC to the government but it has not provided any answer except one “yes” to the question about whether any feasibility has been conducted on CPEC. However, they have no documents or figures to support this claim. Furthermore, there is no document on how the toll money, if at all, will be shared between the provinces through which the CPEC routes passes.

And one more thing; people believe all the money is coming from China. This is not so. Pakistan is spending a lot from of its own resources without calculating what it stands to gain or lose. All the CPEC roads are being built by Pakistan. Besides, the cost of providing security to the CPEC-related Chinese workforce and infrastructure falls on us. There are reports that NEPRA has allowed transferring this security cost to the citizens of Pakistan. This will be done by adding it to our electricity bills just like the PTV license fee that they have to pay.

Those celebrating it must know that the above USD 50 billion loans and Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) will ultimately impact the country when there will be an outflow of loan payments and profit remittances to Chinese companies. This will put immense pressure on foreign reserves which are already dwindling. Unfortunately, Pakistan has done no planning on how funds and revenues will be generated for these payments.

Another fear is that the trade imbalance with China will further widen. The Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Pakistan and China has already resulted in trade imbalances with Pakistani exports being far less than its imports from China. This is about formal trade; the flooding of Pakistani markets with Chinese products is in addition to it. You will be surprised to know that many Pakistani manufacturers have stopped production at their units. Instead, they import products from China and supply them to the market in Pakistani packaging. Buyers think the product is manufactured in Pakistan which is not the case.

The environmental cost of CPEC will also be big. One reason is that no EIAs have been done to offset this. Several coal-powered projects based on imported raw material have been launched. This dependence on imported fuel will increase pressure on rupee. The effective rate of US dollar is already Rs120 but it has been kept between Rs104 and Rs106 artificially. Just imagine what will be the situation when Pakistan will have to honour the payback commitments.

TNS: How much does Pakistan stand to gain from the development of Gwadar?

KB: I have said it earlier and will say it again that Gwadar cannot become Dubai. It is a seaport built for the purpose of re-exporting Chinese products brought into Pakistan via a land route. I think it is not possible to establish industrial zones and a mega city in Gwadar because there is no water available to support this development.

The environmental cost of CPEC will also be big. One reason is that no EIAs have been done to offset this. Several coal-powered projects based on imported raw material have been launched. This dependence on imported fuel will increase pressure on rupee.

If we recall, Gwadar came into the spotlight after the Kargil war because a need was felt to have a port for naval purposes. India tried to blockade the port at Karachi and sent ships but this plan failed. As the sea is rough in the summer, the crew got sea-sick and returned. The Karachi-Gwadar Road (Coastal Highway) was also constructed during that time, mainly for defence reasons. Till then it had been completely neglected and its economic potential had not come under discussion. I am not against building infrastructure for security reasons; my point is that we must acknowledge it was for defence reasons and not to exploit its economic potential.

Can one believe it is for the first time that Gwadar and Quetta have been connected via a direct road?

The issue is that one tanker of drinking water brought from as far as Mirani Dam (150 kilometres away from Gwadar) costs around Rs25,000. You will be amazed to hear that water theft from houses in Gwadar is quite common. What happens is that thieves enter houses and walk away with household containers carrying drinking water. They won’t steal motorcycles or other belongings, it’s water that they want.

The government does talk about the option of setting up a desalination plant but I do not think it is workable because of its huge fixed and operational costs. It is estimated that it will cost Rs750 million a year to run such a plant. China is apparently not ready to give funds, so Pakistan will have to cover the cost. I do not think Pakistan will be able to take this responsibility because its share of revenues from Gwadar Port is only 9 per cent while China has 91 per cent of the share.

TNS: The government talks of increasing the tax net but this has not happened. Why?

KB: I think this is because the moral legitimacy to demand taxes has been lost and the reason for this is that people do not recieve anything in return. In developed countries with a high tax-to-GDP ratio, people are motivated to pay taxes because they get services and privileges in return. They believe they are paying taxes that are ultimately being spent on their welfare and well-being, but in Pakistan there is a strong mistrust among citizens and the state. In Canada, the tax rates are high but people pay happily because facilities like education and health are free and of high quality.

In Pakistan this is not the case. Take the example of Sindh Industrial and Trading Estate (SITE) and the Korangi industrial area in Karachi. The owners of industrial units set up here pay billions of rupees in tax but the government cannot even provide proper roads to them. They have to pay bribes to have their petty issues resolved and are harassed by the state machinery.

The government is only interested in having a good budget to show and for this it plays with figures and deviates and digresses from original plans. It is quite common to find block budgetary allocations made for certain sectors without going into specific details. Besides, as I mentioned earlier, it takes further loans to pay off earlier loans and build up foreign reserves —- although this helps paint a pretty picture, it has severe repercussions in the long run. Similarly, the government of Pakistan received USD1.5 billion to maintain its reserves. This is just like borrowing money from someone to show a healthy bank statement at the time of applying for a visa and later on returning it to the lender.

Without a doubt, well-planned, comprehensive and sustainable policies with long-term objectives are the need of the time. We will have to do away with patch-work and short-lived quick fixes.

Shahzada Irfan Ahmed

shahzada irfan
The author is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]

65 comments

  • KB, it looks like a paid article, nuetral to negative, cpec will bring lot of jobs to service sector, thats exactly what pakistan is looking , there is no point to invent the wheel you need raw material which pk dont have as compared to china who owns hundreds of mines in asia africa ,just name it, beside gawadar is very important entrance that needs to be saved.
    in develop countries which countries you are talking about US? CANada? people pay happily? you must be kidding, they are welfare countries, pls go back to school, they will happily pay you a cheque if u dont have money to buy food, and keep printing $ so all third world can send them food and clothes for their toilet paper and some new iphones or a new movie or perhaps arms to fight neighbours or even kill your own people because they cant pay tax because they dont have resources to generate income. pakistan as a islamic country should be TAX free as per islamic laws, & the govt is responsible for every new born.

    • CPEC will bring Pakistan into a Debt Trap. China is not giving this money to Pakistan for free – it wants that money repaid at very high rates of interest. When you talk about Islamic laws, then remember that whole reason that interest payment is outlawed under Islam is because high interest rates can be used to enslave people – which is exactly what will happen to Pakistan under CPEC. Later on you’ll be crying and forgetting what you wrote here today. Pakistanis are cursed with short-term memories.

      • What about resealing with them or what are the perks for pk for letting china use our land and what about all the oil refineries that I heard are planned on route and will they provide jobs and benefit pakistan . And are we not in a negotiable position no interest on any loans we take for development that will benefit china ? May Allah sbwt be kind

      • HEY SAN CPEC IS POWER OF PAKISTAN ,,,,AND PAKISTAN WILL BE MAKE MORE STRONGER,,,,AND MAKE MORE DEFENSIVE AND KILLER FOR EXTREMISTS,,,TERRORISTS,,,AND OUR BIGGEST ANTI NATIONAL ELEMENTS….BECAUSE NOW PAKISTAN ADMITTED ON NO MORE POLICY,,,HEY SHUT UR MOUTH TRUMP AND P.M NARINDERA MODI,,,NOW PAKISTAN NOT MORE COMPROMISING ON AMERICA AND EXTREMIST TERRORISTS INDIA DEMANDS,,,INDIA SHAME ON U U R KILLER OF INNOCENT KASHMIRIS AND BARMAS MUSLIMS,,,INDIA AND AMERICA U WILL BE PAY HUGE AMOUNT REGARDING THIS VERY SOON !!!!!!!!

    • What evervKB says is no revelation. These matters are being questioned repeatedly by the economists in Pakistan. Internationally it is being questioned if Pakistan is being colonised by china. Matters regarding non transparency have been raised by many in parliament and media. Is it too much for people to aske for transparency, they ask for copies of agreements for each project signed with Chinese. How much of it is from loan, if loan – against what securities what are terms of repayment, what is the rate of interest, how many Pakistanis will be employed in the projects , if at all. Go to any international airport in Pakistan you will find herds of Chinese coming and going. As for partnering with them in business last week there was article in Dawn to the effect that it is very difficult to get onto partnership with them as they are very difficult and just want to dictate. We do not learn of any partnership agreements between the two of us. Recently a Chinese internal audit report –

    • It seems Pakistan has forgotten the history of the Mughals and East India Company! In a few decades Pakistan will become a province of China! The Chinese have no loyalty, no sentiments! They are ruthless and self centred! Pakistanis will find out that they won’t be able to practise their unfettered Islam – the very reason behind the partition of India and creation of Pakistan! Chinese think long term and are busy acquiring access to minerals, raw materials, trade routes and grabbing territory where they can! From South China Sea to South Asia to Africa, nothing is sacrosanct! They may have come bearing baskets of gifts! Just beware they don’t contain snakes!

    • How CPEC will bring jobs when lakh of Chinese already came in your country without completed the project?this showed you ppl just believed this project bcz your army support but where is agreement.you ppl are democracy.ask your government to show agreement?

  • Very insightful analysis.

  • Very informative and critically analysed.
    Disappointed to find that our leaders failed to present their case and protect vital interest for their nation.
    I really wonder what will happen after 10 years when repayments starts..

  • This man serving Pakistan peoples party and will never agreed any positive signs of progress anyway I don’t think we should NOT be agreed with him & thoughts. It’s to early to get results from cpec because it’s under process. Whenever projects starts there are ups and down so now some peoples will talk about CPEC. NO WORRIES whole nation behind the project what so EVER.

    • His views are very shallow and not based on actual numbers .CPEC will have positive effects on jobs and infrastructure development .As far as industry is concerned they are already suffering increased pressure in quality and price,which will increase with CPEC.
      Chinese industry has already failed industries in usa , Europe and Australia.
      Pakistani industry will have to probably form joint ventures with chinese to succeed.
      Cpec is also more of the political game than financial one , look how the world esp India America and some European powers are reacting to it. They will try to change any govt that is pro cpec.
      Pakistan China friendship is more at the govt to govt level than people to people level , due to language and cultural barriers and least amount of people to prople contact.
      Cpec is more important to China than Pakistan for its access to Arabian sea. (Russian tried it and see what happened )
      Pakistan will come to bear a lot more western pressure in coming years

      • The problem is NUMBERS, which are not being shared to the public!!!

    • Dr. S. M. Ali Tirmizi

      I completely agree with you. We must wait for the CPEC which is a newly planted tree to grow and reap fruits. We must reject all western funded propaganda against CPEC projects.

  • TIME WILL TELL about the writer ……..

    Only thing I can say is that Pakistan is moving in the right direction and nothing can stop Pakistan from growing. ONLY THING IS THAT IT IS TAKING SOME TIME TO ELIMINATE CORRUPTS. IT CANNOT BE A DAYS OPERATION. They are in total control and are resisting. It’s only a matter of time the culprits are taken to task and Pakistan to start it growth trajectory.

    ADNAN

  • He hails from Balochistan

  • Good analysis…sure agriculture sector is very soft. This is pusging Pakistan population to migrate to cities or only one city Lahore. I saw a much skilled labour working and cutting grass or waiting us to enter into a sliding doors of sweet shops. Is Pakistan under threat from China or India or US, soon will be evident.Authored failed to offer any solution…Pakistan policy makers should educate and train his people.

  • Cpec is game changer
    India is jealous n Kashmir also wil free soon
    India struggle via Afghanistan to disturb Pakistan
    Kalboshan the key terrorist from indian army
    Sharif .zardari..diesel .achakzai are batriyot
    Only khan
    Advised for india just sympathy with indian poor people n help them

    • Quite emptional, irrelevant feedback on such a brain storming Article.

    • I am from India
      After 20 years through CPEC you will make Pakistan a super power
      So you can attack and liberate Kashmir from us Indians

  • A very good article. Our economic experts must contribute their inputs on the points raised, which seem to b very pertinent

    • Article is anti Pakistan, Anti Army, Anti CPEC.
      In nutshell pathetic article.

      • YES VERY WELL SAID ,,CPEC WILL B A VERY BIG GAME CHANGER FOR PAKISTAN ECONOMY,,,AND WILL DEMOLISH ALL NEGATIVE ACTIVITIES oF ANTI NATIONAL PARTICULARLY EXTREMIST NEGATIVE MINDED KILLER INDIA….INDIA CPEC WILL BE MAKE PAKISTAN MORE STRONGER MORE DEFENSIVE AND MORE ANTI NATIONAL KILLER….INDIA JUST WAIT N WATCH WHAT WILL BE HAPPENING WITH U IN FUTURE……PAKISTAN IA A NO 1 NUCLEAR AND KILLER ARMY FOR ANTI NATIONALS….

  • Make him Finance Minister and he will turn all his negative comments to positive ones

    • Foolish imran khan could not understand the game changer.

  • There are several problems with his analysis.

    He does not acknowledge the value of infrastructure development especially in the energy sector.

    He does not accept the benefits of roads and highways will stimulate the economy.

    Even Britain is moving from a manufacturing economy to a services based economy.

    And hundreds of engineers have been sent to China for training. Chinese investment in skill development is considerable.

    It is funny how Mr Bengali is citing Donald Trump’s economic priorities as evidence for his stance. Nobody in their right mind would use Trumponomics as a serious argument.

    • Service based economy is successful only and only when the mainstreM manufactuting economy is very strong, rather matured. Do u think Pakistan can afford a service based economy with a paralyse and constantly deteriorating manufacturing one???

  • Seemingly good analysis. All it means is that the govt is anti people and putting at stakes all national interests. It also means road infrastructure under CPEC will bring no benefits to the people. It means China under the garb of friendship is out to bring Pakistan to total ruin sometime in near future and would cause greater damage to Pakistan than ever desired by Indians in their wildest dreams. Come on sir. In your idealism you dont know what it takes to build future.

  • This so called economic wizard is trying his bedt to find a job. Offer him job he will sing song that the country is moving in right direction. The best place for such so called expert is giddu bunder.

  • As countries develop, the move from manufacturing to services sector; also countries try to exploit the comparative advantage that they enjoy due to location, factor endowment etc.
    I fail to understand why would one want to expand manufacturing when you are not competitive enough!!

    Though the writer’s comments about Govt’s failure to share the ratio in which Pakistan stands to gain from CPEC are valid.

  • Dr. S. M. Ali Tirmizi

    CPEC is certainly a game changer because Pakistan can not prosper in isolation. We need to cooperate with China in all projects concerning economic growth. Its basically an idea of mutual economic growth in the region. Pakistani economists must optimistically support CPEC. Its just the beginning of an era of economic prosperity. We Pakistanis must show patience and tolerance in CPEC matters. I assure you that projects under CPEC will certainly benefit Pakistan. Moreover, CPEC will attract world FDI to come to Pakistan and as a result our economic problems will eventually be resolved.

  • Without Rule of Law, regulations, Merit,Education, a very well educated general public, Up to date Legislative Assemblies manned by competent personal, accorss the board Justice & Merit … if not than sadly All Such Dreams from CENTO TO CEPC will eventuality Fall Apart or Fail to Deliver….. Wake Up ,Shape Up …Pakistanis , Work out Your Way….NON ONE ELSE WILL WORK IT OUR FOR YOU ….WE HAVE SHOVEL OUR WAY OUT OF EVERY MESS & PROBLEM>>>>

  • Wronglt put up.
    I have been workinh in Gwadar since 2005 and have hardly seen an incident where theives are stealing water.
    Anyways, we should all respect China and Pakistan Economic Corridor.
    As far as Gwadar is concerned if Government could just legitimate Land records and free us from Patwar Khanas than we will all be prosperous.
    China is an economic giant peaceful with Pakistan since it’s independence. I feel worst but need to highlight that China compared to Pakistan is nothing when it comes to corruption and transparency. Asif Ali Zardari would never become our Prrsident if we were strong nation. The only thing strong in Pakistan is army and poor men who live below the poverty lines but still do not complain. God bless poor Pakistani’s and the nations army.

  • This article is really putting the reader into a very disappointing situation. The writer is looking at one side of coin and dont know why. If CPEC has all negatives, then why we doing SOOO. Plzzz respected author provide suggestions to eliminate all these drawbacks.

  • having worked little bit on cpec and interacted with the planning comission, I second the analysis. Pakistan is getting nothing that much cpec out of cpec

  • KB . you are such a negative person . I don’t like your pessimistic approach . u r not an economist you r just a critic .

  • yup it is a known fact that government is all playing shady with the feasibility of the project. It is true though people already in the tax net are paying huge taxes and the situation at korangi and SITE Karachi is quite miserable. There is a road in site which has made after the delay of more than a year and they left the further portion of the road in previous condition for no reason.

  • The sooner Pakistan winds up CPEC, the greater the chances for it not to go insolvent. It passes through Bulochistan. Buloch are waiting to pounce on it and there go all the eggs before they had a chance to turn into chicken.

  • The answer to the question “Is CPEC a game Changer or Game Over” completely depends on how Judiciary, Accountibility and Army work hand in hand to totally eradicate the corrupt Mafias and Politicians. There has to be a brutal accountibility and Supreme Court decision on Nawaz disqualification is an awesome tipping point. If this is done we will get clean, non corrupt and capable policy makers who will work to make CPEC a game changer. Otherwise its a game over anyhow

  • It is interesting to see that people are calling him “economic wizard” and are actually claiming that THEY know better than what this person seems…the difference between your state of mind and his can be seen…you people literally don’t know anything and are presenting not even a logical argument to what he said…his questions are relevant and so are his facts..when was the last time our awaam was so literate that they knew the basic economic terms?..and yet here they are questioning his revelations..it is the THIS exact attitude of NOT QUESTIONING from our awaam that has put this country in a state of destruction…from the above argument not one individual has presented a logical counter-argument…how many of you have an economics degree I must ask?..lets see if anyone can calculate how many years will it take Pakistan to payback the circular debt?..CPEC may provide all the dreamy benefits..but one thing it won’t be able to change…the number of retards that keep growing

    • Numbers? What numbers? Do these corrupts disclose the numbers in front of awaams or for that matter senators and parliamentarians are voicing their concerns on contracts and agreements and transparencies.

      They …say “PROVE in court” with evidence that they are corrupts. Bloody He’ll! Everyone knows them and how they operate.

      If you have the numbers than produce them and prove that those numbers are correct.

      My argument is that no institution can survive if it’s leaders are corrupt and these politicians make sure that they appointment corrupt heads of departments to serve them.

      Our bet is that it cannot last for ever and one day someone from amongst us will rise and catch these theives.we are looking towards Army and judiciary for that.

      WE HAVE SEEN 1998 sanctions. We have seen stocks plunging to 480 index points we have seen foreign banks borrow funds at over 50% but we recovered from there. GOD SAVED US EARLIER AND GOD MAY SAVE US NOW. STARTING POINT IS ELIMINATE CRIMINALS.

  • Hope CPEC is completed.Once completed, Pakistan will cease to be an independent state and will become a colony of China! Hope China uses the stick to make the Pakistanis work for them!

    • That is going to happen
      A new province for China

  • These are his personal views and I completely disagree with him, he might be right and some points but he’s not right on all the points that he has made.. the credentials that KB has in his CV other his qualifications and research work show he has never been able to understand the economy , the BISP is a failed plan which embarked more unemployment resulting in punctured Sind and rest of Pakistan. Being advisor to CM Baluchistan is the worst thing in a CV with what state it’s in right now. If only KB would have positively utilised his knowledge on the right time of his duty Pakistan would have not been in such state and we would have seen Gawader and other challenges brought into proper shape, nothing is late when you don’t want to start positively, History is filled with such events and people, but only a few made it on the top , Russian economy has faced such challenges and came out of it , Singapore made it along with Malaysia , Brazil and Africa are building up, kindly think again

  • Actually the writer is Pakistani Bengali but above form all one should pay heed what is he saying China might be our best friend but China has his own global aims and goals on the other hand India is fearing from China not Pakistan one can say .( cpec )as china prosperity economic corridor becaue huge gulp of share for long years China going to enjoy .

  • I think that his analysis is spot on. Many of the local manufacturers are being hit hard by the Chinese companies.

  • Can anyone reading this search on Sri Lanka port China developed. China built the port for Sri Lanka and now the port is full control of China because debt is so huge that Srilankans cannot pay back so they will use it as their colony and zero benefit for Srilankans.

  • Kaiser bengali is a die hard pppp supporter n critic of everything non ppp. If cpec had anything 2 do with pppp, he wud hv been singing and praising. All hus pisitions listed in his intro were during ppp govts so how can he utter anything that does not show his political bias. For him country or its economy does not matter its only to prove their own relevance and presence to their part leaders with theonly hope that if tomorrow and i must say (God forbid) if ppp govt comes, he shud b remembered and considered for his share of loot n plunder that he can help facilitate

    • I hope we become die hard Pakistanis rather than becoming opportunists waiting for their tun.

  • KB’s concerns on CPEC are genuine… similar have been expressed by other stakeholders. But Govt officials are not ready to answer any of them. Given the capacity and competence of the govt, there are well-founded reasons to be pessimistic.

  • KB I must appreciate the point you raised that CPEC may signify a game over. and the fecilites being provided to Chinese companies will destroy the poor local market………
    for example, since Chinese companies are tax-exempted they will bring everything from China and hence they will have no reliance on Pakistani businesses to fulfil their demands. This has shattered the dreams of many local companies that planned to expand their production facilities in anticipation of receiving orders from these Chinese companies…
    So Pakistani market will be zero as all will be available here from China….. We will not be able to cry on the situation as China is our best friend…

  • I think the analysis on CPEC by mr. Begali is worth considering. Please take apart for a moment the remarks about his profile and affiliation with ppp, all positive or negative forecasts either by him or any of viewers relating the project, also forget for the moment China is our friend (I cannot though). We should be concerned with the Number facts and chronological data he talked about. So what if he is doing critics or sincere evaluation? Should take it simple, If mr Bengali lied somewhere presenting facts/figures then Reject him and also dont seriously take his interpretations yet. Just focus upon what he has presented in figures and Not to deny his C. V credentials. Being a Pakistani I want to ask ; Why not to have access to the contract papers of this project? What’s the rationale to the 91:9 % China vs Pak revenue share? etc. etc. Its ok to hide specific details for security reasons but seems wrong about mega monetary matters. Also I insist not to show mistrust about China in friendship, but China must satisfy our reservations being a friend and show bona-fide connections thereto.

  • KB does not seem to be an economist or even a finance expert. He is simply a political operative. Infrastructure development has no value for him. He should stop using highways and airports of the country.

    In any case, most of investment of CPEC in electricity generation where raw material is imported. These projects would have to produce and sell electricity yo make profits. Most of power users are in agriculture and industry. This allows for the growth in those sectors. Theft by consumers has to be stopped to control circular debt. Circular debt problem exist before CPEC and is related to plants based on furnace oil.

    KB should not hide his motives and who he works for.

  • Hes a western puppet. Hes all pessimistic nowt positive… i live in uk and its all negative on china an cpec an he follows suit. If its all bad cpec then why is usa an india flustered.

    Besides no one else has invested in pkiland.55billion dollars plus… bout time an if china dies take over underground then we part of them so be it. We nenefit more no more corruption or blackmail from west.

  • This article is paid by CIA-RAW-MOSSAD for defaming Pak China friendship it’s Jewish Hindoo plot to destroy Pakistan
    Gaddar bengalee is pleasing baniya Brahmins
    CPEC will make Pakistan stronger and many nations will come to it
    Pakistan after becoming a power will liberate Afghanistan & Kashmir soon
    Insha Allah

    • Dear disclosing hidden secret interest of corrupt politicians of Pakistan is not meant to betray state. CIA-RAW & MOOSAD might be hatching policy against CPEC. But we can understand ourselves because China actually undermine the rights historical nations.

    • Irfan- I am a Brahmin and you accusing KB of CIA/RAW/MOSSAD agent and pleasing Brahmins is hilarious to say the least. Actually it is people like you who please us the most. For your information, India opposes CPEC only because it passes through the disputed territory of Pak Occupied Kashmir. Another strategic concern for us is not success of CPEC but the consequences of its failure. CPEC is designed to make Pakistan bankrupt so that China can dictate terms to Pak, use its territory and ‘human resources’ and rentier army against India. It will be beneficial for China to fight India to the last Pakistani. Pakistan will bear the brunt and pay heavy price in world forums and punitive actions by world powers and India. So Pakistan will play China’s game whereas China can always wash off its hands and claim innocence the same way you claim innocence and blame everything on so called non-state actors. But we are happy for you going on the path of CPEC and ignoring experts warnings.

  • I would comment on CPEC. I think CPEC is like East India Compony which became the Game-Over element for the then government. EIC played a conspiracy role to hatch policy which created conflict between two ethnic groups. As far as CPEC is concerned, it aim is to crush the underprivileged nations. China’s focus on natural resources is very crucial for indigenous people.
    China condemns and claims that Pakistan is the birth-state of extremist in BRICS conference.

  • I find the article a useful insight.China may come in Pakistan build whatever infrastructur ,operate it let us say for 20-30 years and than transfer it back.As for initial investment they should atleast fund 80% of the cost,earn revenue from it and use it to payback whatever loans are involved.They should give an undertaking that atleast 50% manpower to be utilized will be Pakistani.It is easy to invite CHINESE but the Exit clause in the overall game should be Transparent.We shoul not give them a Blanket TAX free status.This means some sort of Profits may be shared in the same proportion that was reqired as equity ratio.Somebody used the case of EAST INDIA COMPANY as an example,that history may not be repeated.The only strength is religion with Pakistan.No matter what religion cannot be altered by the Chinese.It was the basis for creation of Pakistan.Cultrually and genetically Chinese are different and remain so.May Allah keep Pakistan safe.

  • I am strongly agree with him. We have to accept facts instead of living in illusions.

  • Very informative and perspective changing interview on my counts of Pakistan’s economy. TNS must be appreciated and encouraged to publish many of such interviews that are non-partisan and provide us food for thought.

  • Some of the great features of CPEC for review!
    The CPEC is a collection of infrastructure and energy projects whose total worth is around $46 billion.
    The project was launched in 2015. If completed, the 3,000-km network of roads, railways and pipelines will link western China to Southern Pakistan.
    The CPEC is a part of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Maritime Silk Road projects, two development plans that seek to deepen Mainland China’s economic cooperation with a number of Asian and European countries.
    The corridor will pass through Balochistan province – where a separatist movement has been under way for decades – as well as through Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK).
    Pakistan’s motivation for investing in the project is two-fold: it hopes the CPEC will stimulate economic development and increase energy production. In fact, $35 billion will be invested in coal and LNG-based thermal energy projects in Pakistan!

  • Mr KB is highlighting the failure and incompetence of PMLN govt in negotiating best deal with China. The game changer can be game over if Pakistan will not play its card smartly. Why He doesnt mention the rent we will take on yearly basis for using the road network which is quite handsome amount. Regarding his point on water issue then Karachi has water issue and it is still the major economic hub of the country today. Also technology is changing rapidly today, thanks to china, so power and water issues can be easily resolved there. Main issue is incompetent PMLN & PPP Govts which Pakistanis dont want to get rid of.
    And you can observe wherever there is an article on CPEC you will find more indian there. This is enough to know how beneficial CPEC.

    • Brother,

      you raised a point that we want PMLN or PPP. Its not true that we want them! They have been forced on us by the WEST! Good thing is that since 2010 there has been a concerted drive to uproot the criminals out of the system. The are powerful and they are the law makers and they always manage to get away with.

      Now they are being exposed like never before and its just a matter of time that they are eliminated out of the system. Once honest and dedicated and capable leadership (technocrats) start to lead the country and our corporates we will surely bounce back. It is just a matter of time perhaps a few years.

  • Sahibzada Danish Ishaq

    No doubt CPEC is Game changer for Pakistan and face changer for the region.We ppl remember one thing that Beiing’s policy is ”INVEST” not ”INVADE”.

  • Voice of sane people like this is missing in Pakistan. You don’t need any economist to foresee the end. Pakistan will benefit but like a slave working for a rich master. Pakistan industry has no chance. Pakistan leaders have effectively sold the country. Biggest threat is instigating war clouds to divert attention of citizens from the reality. In this internet world, the scheming will be difficult to succeed. When one compares Modi with Shariff, the contrast is too much. Hope that one day Pakistan people will return and make Bharat a great country.

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