ISLAMABAD: The 18th Regional Planning meeting of the Economic Cooperation Organization began in Islamabad Monday. Addressing the inaugural session, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Muhammad Akram Sheikh emphasized for greater cooperation among the member countries to confront the common challenges facing the region.He said the ECO countries had vast potential in diverse fields and collective efforts will help us reap the fruits of globalization and free trade regime for the mutual benefit of the member countries.
Highlighting the importance of transportation and communication sector for the enhanced cooperation, the deputy chairman planning commission said Pakistan was spending huge resources on strengthening and expanding the logistic chain. He said the National Trade corridor programme targeted the creation of new national, provincial and rural roads, together with motorways and expressways. A broad range of support
services were also being developed including shipping, freight management, trucking, insurance and banking. He said the government was using the instrument of public private partnership to enhance efficiencies in these sectors.
He said cooperation in the energy and mineral sector was pivotal to meet our energy requirements and achieve development targets. He said Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline agreement was nearly concluded and we look forward to other such arrangements to meet our energy requirements. He hoped that programmes for energy flows across the ECO countries would be enhanced and sustained for the mutual benefit of the peoples.
The Deputy Chairman also briefed the foreign delegates about the economic achievements made by the country during the last five years. He said Pakistan was ready to share its success story with the member countries and also learn from them their successes in various sectors.
Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General ECO Khurshid Anwar referred to the steps taken for enhancing cooperation among the member countries. He said we had to realize the over arching vision of regional economic integration and their integration with the global economy for achieving the goals of progress and prosperity. During four day deliberations, the participants would review the progress of ECO and future areas of common interest in trade and investment , transport and communications, agriculture, industry, human resource development , energy and environment sectors. About two hundred participants from the member countries are attending the meeting.-SANA