Rashakai area will be the hub of industrial activities in the near future
Rashakai is a small town in Nowshera that has come into limelight due to the 1,000-acre Rashakai Special Economic Zone (RSEZ) being constructed near it. The zone comes under the CPEC umbrella and is the first industrial cooperation project between China and Pakistan.
The project cost is estimated at $150 million. It is expected that $2.1 billion will be invested in RSEZ, creating 200,000 employment opportunities. It will be home to garments, textiles, construction materials, electronics, electrical appliances, steel, pharma and automobile industries.
The zone will enjoy duty-free machinery import and a 10-year income tax holiday. It is a three-year project that would be developed in three phases. The total area for industrial use will be 702 acres. 159 acres will be developed in Phase 1, 279 acres in Phase 2, and 264 acres in Phase 3.
Seventy six acres will be designated for commercial use. The zone will have state of the art infrastructure with an efficient road network, drainage, sewerage, boundary wall, streetlights, gas, electricity and a commercial area.
10 MW of electric power has been arranged for the zone through an 11 kv feeder. Work is in progress on supply of 210 MW through a 132 kv grid station. The field office at site has been constructed and the boundary wall is being erected.
The Concession and Development Agreements between the KPEZDMC and China Road and Bridge Corporation, a state-owned Chinese conglomerate, were signed in the presence of Prime Minister Imran Khan. A new special purpose vehicle, called Rashakai Special Economic Zone Development and Operations Company (RSEZDOC), has been formed as a joint venture between the KPEZDMC and the CRBC to manage the affairs of the RSEZ.
Senator Faisal Saleem is a member of the board of directors of from KP; the CRBC side is represented by three members. The project is set for inauguration by the prime minister.
Dubbed as Gwadar of the North, the RSEZ is strategically located between Wali Interchange and Col Sher Khan Interchange on the M1 motorway. The RSEZ can be accessed through Wali Interchange for which a 3.275 km access road to RSEZ has been built by the KPEZDMC at a cost of Rs 550 million.
Rashakai Interchange is the gateway to Nowshera, Mardan and Northern KP, including Chitral, Dir, Swat and Buner. Col Sher Khan Interchange is the doorway to Swat Expressway which connects Nowshera to Charsadda passing through Swabi, Mardan, Malakand and Swat districts.
In the second phase an expressway will be constructed till Fatehpur in Swat district. The government is proposing linking the Swat Expressway to the China border through Chilas. This will make the RSEZ location strategic.
Industries at RSEZ can also benefit from $482 million Khyber Pass Economic Corridor. KPEC is a 48 km, fuor-lane expressway between Peshawar and Torkham to be completed in 2024. It is a part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation.
The RSEZ is approximately 110 kilometres from the Islamabad airport, 90 kilometres from Islamabad interchange, 50 kilometres from Peshawar interchange, 40 kilometres from Azakhel dry port and 35 kilometres from Nowshera railway station. The RSEZ is 70 kilometres from the Torkham border – the entrance to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Industries set up at the RSEZ can also benefit from $482 million Khyber Pass Economic Corridor. The KPEC is a 48 kilometre, four-lane expressway between Peshawar and Torkham to be completed in 2024. It is a part of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) which will provide the shortest trade route from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan to Pakistan, linking the Central Asian states to the Arabian Sea. The 265-kilometre proposed Peshawar-Kabul motorway will connect Peshawar to Kabul via Jalalabad making access to the Afghan markets easy. With the Torkham border now open 24/7, trade between Pakistan and Afghanistan is expected to flourish.
The CPEC City, a major housing project to be built by the FWO and the KP government is under process. 80,000 kanals land has been acquired for the project. The project is situated in close proximity to the zone. The project will host apartments, homes, parks, recreational areas and commercial buildings, making the area more habitable and serve as a home to foreigners and locals who wish to stay close to their industries and offices at the RSEZ.
ZRK Group,one of the largest manufacturers of wood-based panels in Pakistan, has set up a multi-billion rupee state of the art factory near the zone. The Air Force has acquired 2,200 kanals of land nearby to set up housing, commercial and educational facilities. The University of Technology, under the KP Industries Department, has acquired 500 kanals of land to set up a state of the art facility to provide trained manpower to the industries in the RSEZ. There is thus economic activity already at the periphery of the zone.
The KPEZDMC has received 1,998 applications for 3,670 acres of land. The SEZ Committee of Rashakai Special Economic Zone consisting of CEO RSEZDOC, Director KPSEZA, Director SEZ - Federal BOI, Zone Manager RSEZ and DC Nowshera, has allocated 40 acres of land to Century Steel (Pvt) Ltd. The enterprise is owned by Fuzhou Julitaihe International Company; a Chinese conglomerate engaged in manufacturing and sale of iron and steel products.
Fuzhou Julitaihe International Company owns steel mills in Indonesia, Myanmar, Cambodia and Ethiopia.
The CRBC will encourage and facilitate Chinese industries to set up units in the RSEZ. Chinese industries will bring new technologies, produce import substitutes and export-oriented products, and train locals in the industrial sector. Rashakai area will become a hub of industrial activities in the near future. The KP will benefit immensely from this project which will be a game-changer for the entire region.
The writer is Zone Manager, Hattar SEZ, KP Economic Zones Development & Management Company, Government of KP