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Jump-starting SEZs a priority, minister tells Chinese team

By Our Correspondent
October 24, 2018

ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Planning Development and Reforms Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar Tuesday said that to jump-start Special Economic Zones (SEZs) is the top priority of the present government and Rashakai special economic zone will be the first one.

The area of SEZs remained ignored in the past and none of the zones were taken off, the federal minister said while talking to a delegation headed by Dong Futang, Chief Financial Officer, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) during a meeting here.

Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, Member Infrastructure & Connectivity, Malik Ahmad Khan, Project Director CPEC, Hassan Daud and other officials were also present on the occasion. Dong Futang said that all-out efforts and experiences would be applied to develop Rashakai SEZ at par with Chinese developed zones. He added that locals will be preferred for employment in development and operation stages. Pakistan’s natural resource potential would be fully utilised to make this project win-win for all.

Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar appreciated the role of CRBC in the implementation of Karakorum Highway and other infrastructure projects. He underlined that the Chinese firm would continue its efforts to ensure efficient execution of SEZ.

China Road and Bridge Corporation, a Chinese state-owned company, has already signed a Memorandum of Understating and an engagement agreement with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Government to jointly develop Rashakai Special Economic Zone.

The minister said, “It is our top priority to jump-start SEZs and Rashakai will be the first one.” He added that the area remained ignored in the past and none of the zones were taken off. He stressed on a clear timeline and business model for the development of SEZ at Rashakai as a first zone which would be followed by others. He emphasized that the developer should focus on the relocation of Chinese heavy industry and investment from local as well as foreign enterprises to ensure value addition of the products and import substitution.

Secretary Planning, Zafar Hasan also emphasised on developing a state-of-the-art infrastructure in order to facilitate relocation of Chinese companies and ensure a level playing field for local as well as foreign investors.