Sunday May 26, 2024

Federal cabinet gives green signal to special economic zone in Gwadar

By Mehtab Haider
May 26, 2018

ISLAMABAD: The cabinet under Chairmanship of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi has approved establishment of federal Special Economic Zone (SEZ) at Gwadar and directed the authorities concerned to identify land for procurement in the range of 10,000 to 50,000 acres, The News has learnt.

The federal government has decided in principle to get maximum land out of total earmarked 100,000 acres for the purpose of establishment of SEZ at port city of Gwadar.

The land has become a hot potato keeping in view development plan for Gwadar under the context of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“The Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) has been assigned to identify land availability in the area and then efforts will be made to acquire maximum land for federal SEZ”, said the official sources and added that Islamabad wanted to get 50,000 acres of land but different models were under considerations so that

perception should not come on the surface that Islamabad was trying to grab land. “The government is working on

different models that the sense of ownership should be given to those inherent lands at Gwadar from old generations,” they added.

In the second last meeting for review meeting of CPEC, the minutes of the meeting reads out that Gwadar Development Authority (GDA) will identify land for establishment of Federal SEZ in Gwadar and it should be properly earmarked in Gwadar City Master Plan.

The Board of Investment and GDA will expedite the matter and find a suitable place to ensure implementation of the cabinet decision in this regard.

Official sources confirmed to The News here on Friday that the government was considering offering land owners for providing piece of land on equity basis so they could get benefits of SEZs on long term basis in the range of next 50 to 99 years of lease.

When contacted to Federal Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal this week for inquiring about establishment of federal SEZ at Gwadar, replied that they asked GDA to identify suitable land for this purpose.

When further asked about the required land for this purpose, he said that there was no firm up number yet as it will depend what GDA is going to offer in terms of availability of land.

Pakistan and China want to convert Gwadar into modern port city and its master plan is expected to be finalised after few months by August 2018. However, there is plan to construct one of the largest international airport at Gwadar of whole Pakistan but it’s designing and financing plan has not yet been finalised between the two countries.

Pakistan and China would be utilising over $46 billion under CPEC initiative out of which $786 million would be utilised for different development projects at Gwadar.

For construction of infrastructure for Free Economic Zone & Economic Processing Zones port related industries will cost $35 million.

For Eastbay Expressway project for Gwadar, it would cost $140 million under CPEC initiative. The construction of breakwaters will cost $130 million.

The dredging of berthing areas and channels will cost $27 million under CPEC over the next couple of years.

In order to establish necessary facilities of fresh water treatment plant at Gwadar will cost $114 million under CPEC over the next few years.

One state of the art hospital will be constructed at Gwadar with estimated cost of $100 million. Both sides also decided to establish technical and vacation institute at Gwadar with estimated cost of $10 million.