Special economic zones to increase exports to $1.5bn

Updated March 16, 2020

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“Investors from China, Turkey, Korea and Britain have pumped $1.10 billion into SEZs; bringing in more investors.” m— Dawn/File
“Investors from China, Turkey, Korea and Britain have pumped $1.10 billion into SEZs; bringing in more investors.” m— Dawn/File

ISLAMABAD: Special economic zones (SEZs) could help Pakistan enhance its exports to around $1-1.5 billion annually in the short run by ensuring effective planning, said an industry official on Sunday.

“Investors from China, Turkey, Korea and Britain have pumped $1.10 billion into SEZs and they are bringing in more investors from their countries to invest in Pakistan,” stated Mian Kashif Ashfaq, chairman of the Faisalabad Industrial Estate Develop­ment and Management Company (FIEDMC).

He said these investors expressed their eagerness to explore the possibility of investment in diverse sectors of Pakistan, especially ceramics, chemicals, steel, food processing and automobiles.

He stated that the FIEDMC, which was a successful example of public-private partnership and first-ever state of the art SEZ, would ultimately prove to be an economic engine of the country through China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) initiatives.

Appreciating the economic vision of Prime Minister Imran Khan, he said the premier had directed the departments concerned to remove hurdles in the way of development of SEZs and establish them on a priority basis.

Fortunately, he said, almost hundred per cent plots in M-3 Industrial Estate had already been sold out while hundreds of units had become operational and were playing their role in providing exportable surplus in addition to employing thousands of workers.

Mian Kashif said the M-3 industrial city would house more than 400 people and units of textile, steel, pharmaceuticals, engineering, chemicals, food processing, plastic and agriculture app­liances would provide jobs to nearly 250,000 workers.

He claimed that Faisal­abad was expecting to at­­tract Rs400bn local and foreign direct investments.

“Faisalabad is strategically located in the heart of Pakistan and is flanked by two motorways passing from its eastern and western sides. This city has the unique privilege of contributing 60 per cent to textile exports and 45pc to total exports of the country,” he added.

“Faisalabad is not only known for its iconic textile industries but also brimming with hundreds of small and medium enterprises manufacturing chemicals, steel and food processing products,” he said.

“A good sign is several Chinese industries have started investing in SEZs in Pakistan perhaps because the production cost in China has increased and the country is probably benefiting from the ongoing US-China trade war,” he added.

Published in Dawn, March 16th, 2020