KARACHI: The investment in Sindh’s Special Economic Zones (SEZs) has touched Rs50-billion mark with approximately Rs34 billion worth of injection made into the 930-acre Bin Qasim Industrial Park (BQIP).
The remaining SEZs – Korangi Creek Industrial Park (KCIP) and Khairpur Special Economic Zone (KSEZ), spread over 250 and 140 acres respectively – have attracted combined investment of around Rs16 billion.
Kia-Lucky Motors, which has already started operations with completely built units (CBU), will be manufacturing Kia cars soon and has invested Rs15 billion in BQIP.
“At the SEZs, companies get three things. First, they get a 10-year income tax holiday. Second, they don’t have to pay duty on the machinery and plant imported to set up a manufacturing unit. And last, infrastructure and utilities are at their doorsteps,” Sindh Board of Investment Director Projects Abdul Azeem Uqaili told The Express Tribune.
Two other SEZs have been proposed in Sindh – one is the Dhabeji SEZ which comes under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and will be established over 1,500 acres of land while the other is the 300-acre Marble City.
Although investment is coming into Sindh as a result of CPEC for developing the road infrastructure, the province has lost big investors – Hyundai and Renault, who initially planned to establish their plants at BQIP, but shifted focus to the Faisalabad Special Economic Zone – the Faisalabad Industrial Estate and Development Management Company (FIEDMC).
Sindh Board of Investment Chairperson Naheed Memon blamed bureaucratic hurdles for the two big investors opting for Faisalabad instead of Karachi.
She said if the Lucky Cement group had established Kia plant here, then there was no reason for others to move away. Kia-Lucky has already started operations in Pakistan with its 11-seater Carnival.
“The reason Al-Futtaim (Renault’s partners) moved to Faisalabad was because they had a problem that the land could not be registered in the company’s name. It is because the land comes in the steel mill’s area,” Memon said. “There is this loophole and (former) Punjab chief minister offered them cheaper land and available utilities. That was the reason for abandoning the idea of working in Sindh.”
She believes that Pakistan has a huge potential for auto part manufacturing, saying she has also been trying to facilitate such manufacturing at the proposed SEZ at Dhabeji.
“I have asked auto part manufacturers to come forward and take around 15 acres of land at the Dhabeji SEZ and start facilitating small and medium-scale manufacturers,” the SBI chairperson said.
Half a dozen new auto assemblers have already started or will soon be starting their operations, therefore, the market for auto parts will soon be ripe for exploitation.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2018.