Ahsan Iqbal, Federal Minister for Planning & Development, has said that with the ownership of provincial governments, all proposed nine industrial zones under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) would be completed in a period of two to three years.
Federal Government announced a plan to establish 29 SEZs in all four provinces, Islamabad, Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan in November 2016. Federal Minister told Parliament that all the provinces are working for the successful implementation of the projects in energy and transport infrastructure sector. He said,
“To take advantage of Pakistan’s natural resources, economic zones will be established under CPEC, one each in all the four provinces, FATA, Azad Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, and two by the Federal Government in Islamabad Capital Territory and Port Qasim at Karachi”.
What are SEZs?
The idea of SEZ first started in New York in 1937. As per SEZ Act of Pakistan,
“Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is a blanket term for various types of specialized zones with specific types of enterprises operating in a well-defined geographic area where certain economic activities are promoted by a set of policy measures that are not generally applicable to the rest of the country. Successful SEZs offer immediate access to high-quality infrastructure, uninterruptible power supply, clearly titled land, public facilities, and support services.”
The 6th Joint Cooperation Committee has approved 9 SEZs under CPEC which would be completed in a period of two to three years. In addition to the industrial growth and strengthening bilateral ties between both countries, these SEZs will also generate huge employment in Pakistan.
It is to be noted here that Board of Investment (BoI) established “CPEC-SEZ” Cell in February 2017 for the purpose of facilitating stakeholders on the matters relating to CPEC and Special Economic Zones.
Minister also mentioned that the government had executed its plan of utilizing untapped coal reserves in Thar, a black gold which has a capacity to produce power for 400 years. He said that with the help of technology in marble mining sector, a modern marble city would be established in Mohmand Agency, FATA.
He added that Planning Commission has ensured proper allocation of funds and better management of development projects to avoid delays in the implementation of the projects.