Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that all initiatives for setting up special economic zones would be spearheaded by the federal government while taking all provinces fully on board.
Chairing a meeting to review progress on the establishment of the economic zones across the country, the prime minister directed to ensure that no effort was spared to ensure their colonization on war footing. He directed for addressing concerns relating to land availability, and creation of jobs and wealth to help turn the wheels of economy.
“We should remain competitive by providing incentives for transfer of technology and relocation of industries from China on lines of the incentives being provided by other regional countries.” The prime minister said the government had brought about significant improvement in the ease of doing business in the country.
He said that there is need to devise an effective awareness strategy to inform the people about the on-ground progress and emerging socio-economic opportunities to be available after operationalization of the special economic zones.
The meeting was briefed on the provision of utilities, revision in the existing legislative framework for incentivization, facilitation of foreign and local investors and effective coordination between the centre and the federating units for smooth and effective implementation strategy.
It was informed that funds to the tune of Rs 2.8 billion would be provided for provision of electricity to Bin Qasim, Dhabeji, Rashakai and Hattar special zones during the financial year 2019-20 while four PC-I had already been submitted for facilitation in provision of electricity.
Moreover, additional arrangements are being made for provision of 110 MMCFD gas at the cost of Rs 3.75 billion to different special economic zones out of total 689 MMCFD requirement till 2023. The meeting was also apprised of the revisiting efforts in the existing legislative framework regarding the uniform treatment for all local and foreign investors to ensure 100% foreign ownership and repatriation of profit as well as dividends.
The new legislative framework was being devised to encourage exports, import substitution, and local manufacturing that would check unemployment, current account deficit and facilitate transfer of technology, it was added. Work visa and visa on arrival facility for 67 countries had already been extended, the meeting was further informed.
It was also recommended to ensure plug n play infrastructure in all economic zones for attracting large foreign manufacturing companies to relocate their facilities to Pakistan. Ministers Khusro Bakhtiar and Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser Abdul Razzak Dawood, special assistants Firdous Ashiq Awan and Nadeem Babar, Board of Investment Chairman Zubair Haider Gillani and senior officials also attended the meeting.