Karachi: Federal government initiated remodelling and expansion of the Karachi Expo Centre (KEC) at the cost of Rs 8 billion within next four years to accommodate growing number of exhibitors and visitors. The purpose of the expansion was to make the Expo Centre compatible with China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). Groundbreaking ceremony of the project was performed by Secretary Commerce, Muhammad Younus Dagha in Karachi Expo Centre. KEC is being expanded and re-modelled to incorporate new facilities. A total of three more exhibition halls would be added to the Centre. Presently, the centre has six halls. Under the remodelling project, a convention centre for holding trade related conferences, a multi storey information technology (IT) tower for offices and other facilities including a parking lot would be constructed. The master plan of the project has been designed by the National Engineering Services Pakistan (NESPAK). “We studied studied all major expo centres existing around the world and came up with the most modern concept of the designing. The project will have its own parking plaza which will be able to accommodate around 5000 vehicles”, said NESPAK Managing Director Arif Chengezi while expanding on the remodelling project. Federal Secretary said that the purpose of the expansion project was not only to modernize the present centre but also to create capacity for meeting the ever increasing trade related needs of the country. He said that the remodelling project was in perfect conformity with the government’s trade objective of earning more foreign exchange for financing the developmental needs of the country. The Commerce Secretary applauded the role of trade development authority of Pakistan in pursuing the project and completing its legal formalities diligently. He said that the Ministry of Commerce through video conferences with missions abroad had achieved quite a lot. In these conferences, added the secretary, the hurdles were identified and removed through collective expertise to enhance trade. Commerce Secretary also appreciated the role of business community in increasing exports of the country this year. In the year 2017-18, the exports increased from July to April by 14 percent. The Secretary added that there was a broad based expansion, in terms of both product sectors and destinations, in the exports this year. He added that over all from July to April this year, our textile and clothing export had shown a growth of 8 percent, agro food had grown by 30 percent and other sectors like mineral and metal, engineering goods and surgical instruments had also respectively grown by 12 percent, 13 percent, and 14 percent. Exports to the USA had also increased by 17% . There was also an 8% increase in exports to UK and China both. The expansion of the Karachi Expo Centre was not an isolated effort of the government. Only last year, Ministry of Commerce had launched an initiative titled “Emerging Pakistan” with the aim of promoting various strengths of the country and dispelling negative stereotypes about Pakistan, abroad. The secretary informed the gathering that the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) of the cabinet had approved the three year expansion for the prime minister’s (PM) Export Enhancement package. He hoped that the same zeal would be shown to complete the project within the scheduled timeframe. “The construction of IT tower is a special feature in the expansion and up gradation of the KEC, which will soon meet the needs of the service sector”, Secretary Commerce stated. Secretary of Trade Development Authority of Pakistan (TDAP) Inam Ullah Khan while giving a brief overview of the Karachi Expo Centre said that many national exhibitions were held there. He explained that in these exhibitions, select buyers, from around the world, were shown the entire range of products made in the country. Inam Ullah Khan said that KEC was being expanded and modernized in order to create a capacity for holding larger exhibitions for the country. He also was of the view that the intended expansion of the KEC was in keeping with overall up-gradation of the infrastructure of the country under the CPEC. He added that the expanded KEC would provide an export outlet to the series of special economic zones (SEZ) being established under the CPEC program in the country. Published in Daily Times, June 2nd 2018.