Wednesday September 22, 2021

‘Work on 4 SEZs fast-tracked’

‘Work on 4 SEZs fast-tracked’

ISLAMABAD: Working on four special economic zones (SEZs) of nine envisaged under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has been fast-tracked, Asim Bajwa, chairman of CPEC Authority said.

Bajwa said 37 SEZs were planned under CPEC of which nine were prioritised and four had been fast tracked. He also noted the ground-breaking ceremony of Gwadar free zone by the Prime Minister last week as an important milestone, whereby 2,220-acre land was allocated for development projects as part of CPEC.

Bajwa was addressing a webinar. Ying Xiong, director general of National Development and Reform Commission emphasised significance of the high demonstration project for the region, in general, and for the bilateral ties between the two countries, in particular.

Pakistan High Commission organized a webinar on “Investment Opportunities in CPEC related Special Economic Zones (SEZs”), in collaboration with the Embassy of China on Thursday. The webinar was envisaged in the context of 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between Pakistan and China. It brought to light the transformative potential of CPEC as the flagship project of Belt and Road Initiative, particularly highlighting the opportunities for foreign investors. A broad spectrum of audience ranging from business chambers, infrastructure companies in Singapore and China, think-tanks and diplomatic Missions based in Singapore attended the webinar, said a press release from Singapore.

High Commissioner Rukhsana Afzaal underscored the dividends brought in by the wide array of energy and infrastructure initiatives under the CPEC, aimed to promote connectivity across Asia, Europe and Africa.

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 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 welcoming investment in SEZs from across the world. It 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.

The first Rashakai SEZ has been inaugurated. It is located near M-1 Nowshera, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The 1,000 acres land will be developed in three phases. The total area designated for Industrial use is 702 acres, of which 159 acres will be developed in phase I, 279 acres in phase II and subsequently 264 acres in phase III. For commercial use, an area of 76 acres has been allocated.