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Special Economic Zones and Pakistan

Posted on June 7, 2018 at 01:00 PM

Special Economic Zones are known as an engine for growth and development of country. Special Economic Zones are considered (SEZs) as corner stone and second best strategy for economic growth. The increasing number of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) around the world are the evidence of their vital role in economic growth and socio economic development.

As of 2006 report of International Labor Organization (ILO) 3500 Special Economic Zones were reported in 130 countries and today we can find more than 4300 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and its increasing rapidly. According to Asian Bank of development in 2011, the increase number in SEZs in Asia help to revive its sluggish economy to enhance the trade value in Malaysia, Singapore, China and Korea.

Special Economic Zone define it as a place where foreign companies enjoy tax benefits, as well it should be an area near port for import-export purpose to attract to Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Countries used Special Economic Zones as a tool for industrialization. China has been the most successful country and gained immense progress through SEZs. Special Economic Zones around the world created about 66 million jobs out of 30 million jobs were offered in China.

Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are considered as a backbone for the industrial development of a country and it can benefit long term economic benefits. Mostly Special Economic Zones (SEZs) are based on the business, trade and export oriented development. Special Economic Zones are specified regions that offer economic activity. It offers various incentives to foreign investors such as duty and tax exemptions.

Pakistan today under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has entered the industrialization phase. The Pakistani government has agreed to establish nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in all four provinces, Gilgit Baltistan, Federal Area under China Pakistan Economic Corridor which will be completed in the period of three years. Pakistan has conducted the feasibility report of nine Special Economic zones which focuses only on infrastructure. The three Special Economic Zones are prioritized and to be completed in the first phase of three years. The top prioritized Special Economic Zones Chinese Special Economic Zones Dhabeji Sindh, M3 Industrial city Faisalabad and Hattar Special Economic Zone in Khyber Pakhton Khaw.

Other 6 Special Economic Zones are still under feasibility study. These projects are named as

  • Rashakai Economic Zone , M-1, Nowshera
  • Bostan Industrial Zone
  • ICT Model Industrial Zone, Islamabad
  • Development of Industrial Park on Pakistan Steel Mills Land at Port Qasim near Karachi
  • Special Economic Zone at Mirpur,AJK
  • Moqpondass SEZ Gilgit-Baltistan
  • So these SEZs will be established at the prime locations of each Province. One each Special Economic Zone will be established in Punjab, KPK, Baluchistan and Islamabad. Two SEZs will be established in Sindh and one each in Azad Kashmir, FATA and Gilgit Baltistan.

    Pakistan can rely on the vast experience of China in the establishment in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) and China had almost 1800 Special Economic Zones (SEZs).Special Economic Zone are covered with the complete structure of Act 2012 and Board of Investment has established a CPEC-SEZ cell to facilitate to stakeholders. Pakistan can also benefit from China in the areas of vocational education, water management, agriculture, automobile industry and Electrical appliances industry.

    In future Pakistan is eventually to set around 37 Special Economic Zones under CPEC.

  • Four SEZs sites were identified in Punjab
  • Nine places were identified in Baluchistan
  • Four SEZs sites were identified in Sindh
  • Seventeen SEZs sites were identified in KPK
  • One SEZ in Gilgit
  • One SEZ site was identified in Kashmir
  • One SEZ site was identified in FATA.
  • ICT Model Industrial Zone will be established in Islamabad while an industrial park will be developed on Pakistan Steel Mills’ land in Port Qasim near Karachi.

  • These Special Economic zones deployment in Pakistan needs transparent and secure foreign investment. And its demands for economic incentives with basic utilities such as Water, Gas, and Electricity should also be ensured. In this regard federal government has already agreed to supply amenities to the economic zones. Additionally the security concerns should be minimized and socio-economic and political conditions should be minimized.

    Industrial cooperation under CPEC will help to create millions of jobs and it will definitely change the destiny of Pakistan. In early 80’s before economic reforms in China, GDP per capita was lower than Pakistan. Currently, China stands at $8069 while Pakistan is $1400 GDP per capita. Therefore Pakistan should increase the ratio of its products in Chinese and international market while lower the imports ratio.

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