January 10, 2019: The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) can play a better role in yielding employment benefits for local people if the Pakistani government keep improving the business environment for the manufacturers.
Approximately 1.2 million jobs could be created indirectly in Pakistan because of agreed projects under the CPEC, according to report published by Global Times on Thursday.
The CPEC has proved that the recent surge in Chinese investment is yielding employment benefits in Pakistan.
This is a hard-won achievement, but 1.2 million jobs aren't enough. While the first phase of the CPEC concentrated on infrastructure projects, the second part should focus on employment creation by setting up special economic zones (SEZs) and supporting economic integration. The CPEC needs to accelerate the shift of its focus to provide more jobs for Pakistani people.
The construction of transportation infrastructure under the CPEC framework has created many jobs for local people. This is obviously good news for the country's poverty alleviation campaign. However, infrastructure work provides mainly limited-term employment.
It takes time to complete infrastructure construction, but the country will see a substantial decrease in job creation in the future if it relies heavily on infrastructure construction to generate employment. With about 200 million people, Pakistan needs long-term employment opportunities.
The CPEC also offers unique advantages as it is designed to connect Gwadar Port in southwest Pakistan with China's inland areas, offering another shipping option for Chinese importers and exporters.
Working on the CPEC's SEZs should be stepped up to promote Pakistan's manufacturing sector and its industrialization, making the country a new important exporter to China. This will provide more long-term jobs for local Pakistani people.