ISLAMABAD: China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Authority chairman retired Lt Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa on Monday said that development work on the Allama Iqbal Special Economic Zone, Faisalabad, was in full swing as 33 per cent of its land had so far been purchased by 69 investors.
In a tweet, Mr Bajwa said that the total saleable land in the zone was 2,276 acres, and 182 acres had been purchased by seven foreign investors.
Several Pakistani and foreign industrial organisations have already started construction work, he added.
Apart from the economic zone in Faisalabad, three more such zones are being set up in different parts of the country.
These Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are expected to create as many as 1.47 million jobs, besides playing an important role in promoting local industry to lead the country towards sustainable economic growth.
Four SEZs to create 1.47 million jobs
The other SEZs are Rashakai M-1 Nowshera, Dhabeji Thatta, and Bostan, Balochistan. They would create around 475,000 direct and one million indirect jobs across the country, a senior official of the Board of Investment said.
He said these SEZs, which are part of the CPEC, would promote industrial growth in the country, adding that development of these four zones was top priority of the government.
The 1,000-acre Rashakai Economic Zone has already attracted more than 2,000 domestic and foreign investments in different sectors.
He said the zone would be developed in three phases.
Meanwhile, Adviser to the PM on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood said the Rashakai SEZ would set a new direction for industrialisation in Pakistan and bring huge Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country.
In reply to a question on shift of industries from China to Pakistan, he said: “We are looking to welcome Chinese industries in our SEZs to Joint Venture (JVs) with local investors and also share mutual experience for benefiting the local industries.”
He said the government was prioritising development of SEZs for attracting FDI and transfer of technology into the country.
The SEZs are focused on industrialisation that result in export promotion, import substitution, transfer of technologies and employment generation, he said.
The adviser said the establishment of SEZs was critical to resolving balance of payments issues as the government wanted to accord priority to enterprises which are involved in export generation or import substitution.
He said Rashakai SEZ is the flagship project of CPEC and its success will strengthen industrial cooperation between Pakistan and China.
He said that development of Rashakai SEZ had a huge strategic implication, because it is closer to resource-rich Central Asian Republics and also plays a role for economic integration of the region.
Mr Dawood said all of these SEZs would have far-reaching socioeconomic impact in the region by attracting more investment, spurring industrialisation, creating employment and ensuring export led-growth.
Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2021