Govt offers help to save $165m auto investment

Updated May 24, 2019

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The commerce minister assured full cooperation and support to the investor. — AFP/File
The commerce minister assured full cooperation and support to the investor. — AFP/File

KARACHI: In a bid to safeguard Al Futtaim-Renault investment of $165 million, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Industry Abdul Razak Dawood on Thursday assured full cooperation and support to Al Futtaim in resolving various issues.

Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) arranged the meetings in Islamabad on Thursday to facilitate Al Futtaim Group for establishing Renault car plant at M-3 special economic zone (SEZ) in Faisalabad. The meetings, held at the Board of Investment (BoI) and Ministry of Commerce, discussed matters related to extension in Special Economic Zones (SEZ) incentives and Auto Policy 2016-2021 at length.

The commerce minister assured full cooperation and support to the investor and required firm commitments from Al Futtaim regarding its investment in Pakistan.

Al Futtaim has already acquired 67 acres of land at the M-3 industrial city SEZ in Faisalabad. However, the project was delayed due to extension in SEZ and auto policy timelines. The investors is now seeking an extension till 2023 in auto policy which expires in 2021. Additionally, the investors are also seeking an extension of 10-year tax holiday under the SEZ incentives.

A government official, who was present in the meeting, said talks between the government and Al Futtaim representatives may prove fruitful in improving the confidence level of investors and early start of the plant.

The meeting was also attended by Chairman FIEDMC Kashif Ashfaq, CEO FIEDMC Aamer Saleemi, CEO Al Futtaim Automotive Pakistan Ltd Shahid Hussain and CFO Al Futtaim Group Dubai, Ihtasham Malik.

Electrifying SEZs: The federal government has decided to start electrifying SEZs, with Karachi’s Bin Qasim Industrial Park (BQIP) set to become the first zone to get immediate relief after the budget.

The decision was taken during a meeting co-chaired by Adviser to the Prime Minister on Commerce and Textiles, Industries and Production and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood and Federal Minister for Power Omar Ayub on Thursday regarding provision of electricity and gas to SEZs.

According to a press release, it was decided that electricity would be provided to nine SEZs on priority basis including Karachi’s BQIP Karachi and Korangi Creek Industrial Park under section 27 (I) of the SEZ Act, 2012 — “the Federal and Provincial Governments to ensure the provision of gas, electricity and other utilities at the designated zero point of each SEZ.” Cost of provision of utilities to SEZs will be met through PSDP.

The power minister issued direction to K-Electric to make arrangements to cater the electricity needs of BQIP.

Published in Dawn, May 24th, 2019