KARACHI: The industrial output of Dhabeji Special Economic Zone (DSZE) is expected to exceed $2 billion along with the creation of 100,000 direct and indirect jobs, Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) Chairperson Naheed Memon said on Friday.
Addressing a press conference after a meeting with Chinese investors, Ms Memon said a consortium of consultants has been engaged by the SBI to conduct a detailed feasibility study in this regard.
The zone is one of the three projects of the Sindh government approved by the last joint coordination committee (JCC) under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), she said.
“The Sindh government has received committed investment from the Chinese investors in chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and garment manufacturing and steel sectors. The SEZ Authority of SBI is actively engaged with provincial industrial associations and China’s state owned enterprises to develop and market this zone,” she said.
The feasibility report would be completed in 90 days by the consortium – comprising Osmani and Company (Pvt) Ltd, Ernst & Young, Institute of Business Administration Karachi, and RIAA Barker Gillette – after consultation with all stakeholders. It would include legal and technical viability, commercial development plan, transaction structure options and would prepare a master plan for the proposed zone.
Ms Memon said connectivity and access to a commercial centre – Karachi in this case – were the two primary critical success factors for a special economic zone.
“Dhabeji is located 55km from Karachi, 40km from the Quaid-i-Azam International Airport and 50km from Karachi Port and Port Qasim. The population of Karachi is close to 25 million and the city would benefit the most from this zone,” she said.
Based on these actual parameters, Dhabeji SEZ spread over 1,000 acres would be the most viable and successful’ SEZ in the country, she added.
She said all utilities including natural gas, electricity and water would be provided by the federal and provincial governments. She expected the groundwork on the project to start before the end of current year.
Ms Memon said after initial interest in Gwadar, infrastructure development, transport and energy, the focus has now shifted to industrial cooperation between China and Pakistan under CPEC.
Dhabeji SEZ is being developed as a model for cooperation between Pakistan and China, she added.
Published in Dawn, July 8th, 2017