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British expats invited to avail investment opportunities in SEZs

By Our Correspondent
March 07, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani authorities have invited UK-based investors to capitalise on investment opportunities in the special economic zones (SEZs) during an international roadshow.

High Commissioner Nafees Zakaria apprised the British Pakistanis about the investment opportunities in Pakistan, especially in SEZs being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) framework.

“CPEC has been dubbed as a game changer and holds immense economic opportunities,” a statement on Friday quoted Zakaria as addressing during the roadshow in London.

The roadshow was held to introduce the SEZs and related investment opportunities under the CPEC framework. A large number of British Pakistanis and potential investors attended the event.

Under the CPEC framework, nine economic zones dedicated to industrial development with incentives were to be set up. Tax exemptions for expatriates till 2040 were proposed as incentive to attract investments in SEZs.

The $60 billion CPEC kick-started five years back concentrating mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall.

Within a last couple of years, a series of power projects transformed the country into energy-surplus destination from the power-deficient one. CPEC framework envisaged 10,000 megawatts of production capacity.

Special economic zones are the next crucial component after early harvest projects under CPEC. Initially, 27 zones were expected to be set up. The number was now reduced to nine.

Government is expecting $1.3 billion worth of exports revenue from industrial chemicals through establishing only SEZs dedicated to biotechnology. It is working on details to set up special economic zones to promote research in chemicals and biotechnology, initially in some major cities of the country. UK envoy apprised the guests of mission’s efforts to attract foreign investments to Pakistan and the business prospects for those who want to venture in and benefit.

Zakaria said Asia is seen as an engine of global economic growth given the financial meltdown in the developed world. “Pakistan enjoys a unique and most advantageous geographic position.”

Kashif Ashfaq, chairman of Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Manufacturing Company made a presentation about the investment opportunities in the special economic zones in Punjab.

Governor Punjab Muhammad Sarwar said Pakistani government attaches great importance to the expatriate Pakistanis. “The government is committed to resolve all issues of the overseas Pakistanis, particularly the issues related to their investment in Pakistan.”

He invited the overseas Pakistanis as well as foreign investors to take advantage of the investment-friendly regime of Pakistan.