Sindh moves on Special Economic Zone status

Updated January 23, 2018

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The entrance to Korangi Creek Industrial Park, one of the three special economic zones that are closer to seeing an influx of investment following key approvals from the provincial government.
The entrance to Korangi Creek Industrial Park, one of the three special economic zones that are closer to seeing an influx of investment following key approvals from the provincial government.

KARACHI: The Sindh government has approved Special Economic Zone (SEZ) status for nine new business enterprises which will be set up in Sindh’s three SEZs at Korangi, Bin Qasim and Khairpur, after their applications had languished on the Chief Minister’s for six months.

The total new investment in these businesses is expected to be more than Rs30 billion, said Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) Chairperson Ms. Naheed Memon, who is also the vice chair of the Special Economic Zone Authority in Sindh.

Now these units will have to get further approvals from the Board of Investment and Federal Board of Revenue to get tax exemptions and other incentives that come with the SEZ status. Ms Memon hoped these approvals will be done in a couple of months.

SBI in collaboration with the World Bank Group has also decided to automate business registration through a portal that would link all provincial and central databases and authorities for starting a business. It will integrate all departmental procedures online enabling entrepreneurs to get required provincial registrations from a single platform in real time. This facility would be launched in pilot form in key government departments as well as in the office of Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

New reforms aim to streamline business and property registration

The relevant provincial agencies are reforming regulations related to construction permits. These reforms include de-notification of environmental approval for low-impact projects, simplification of procedures and reduction in timeline for water connection at Karachi Water and Sewerage Board as well as reduction in legal formalities at Sindh Building Control Authority for obtaining a building permit.

Ms Memon pointed towards reforms already implemented such as Land Administration and Revenue Management Information System at Board of Revenue.

The automation of property registration has begun as all current registrations are scanned, indexed and made available online for title search through digital scanning unit. The time for execution and registration of deed is now less than 100 days compared to over 200 days previously, she said.

New industries with SEZ status

Some of the new industries approved are: Sun Tang Technologies Limited, a Chinese enterprise being setup within Khairpur Special Economic Zone for Steel Wires and Structures with a total investment size of $3.3 billion.

Scilife Pharma Pvt Ltd has established its plant within Korangi Creek Industrial Park (KCIP), with the project being worth Rs304m.

Pinnacle Biotech is coming into the pharmaceutical industry with a total investment of Rs225m.

Young’s Foods, which started its operations in 1988 as a small food processing establishment in Karachi, is setting up an expansion plant for food products within KCIP with total project investment of Rs300m.

Universal Packages is building a plant in KCIP, investing Rs600m in packaging industry. Mehran Comm­ercial Enterprises plans to introduce new technology for supply of auto parts to assemblers such as KIA, Hyundai, Renault. The plant is being set up in KICP with an investment of Rs200m.

Barkat Frisian is a joint venture between Buksh Group of Pakistan and Frisian Egg of Netherlands. Frisian Egg has production facilities in China, Egypt, and Netherlands. The project will produce value added egg products by breaking second quality shells eggs and converting them into premium grade egg products. This liquid egg will be sold to industrial egg consumers in the first phase and then to retail / household segment in future with an investment worth Rs190m.

Tecno Auto Glass is a joint venture between a Japanese car assembler and an independent auto parts manufacturer in Pakistan. Tecno Pack and Pak Suzuki Motor Company will be shareholders in the company according to a 60-40 ownership structure. The company will manufacture automobile windscreen, rear glass, and side glass for Suzuki automobiles being produced in the country. The company is investing Rs2.5bn.

Kia Lucky Motors Pakistan Ltd has signed a general agreement with KIA Motors Corporation as their foreign technical collaborator for establishing a two phased project, comprising of an auto assembly plant with a capacity of 30,000 units per year initially and then eventually expanding the capacity to 50,000 units per year. The total project investment is Rs15bn.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2018