PM Imran seeks to expedite setting up of SEZs

Published: October 24, 2019
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PM Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

PM Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that all initiatives for setting up Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would be spearheaded by the federal government, while taking the provinces fully onboard.

Chairing a meeting to review progress on the establishment of SEZs across the country, the prime minister directed to ensure that no effort was spared for their colonization on war footing.

He also called for addressing concerns relating to the availability of land, creation of jobs and wealth to help turn the wheels of economy.

“We should continue to remain competitive by providing incentives for transfer of technology and relocation of industries from China on the lines as of other regional countries,” he stressed.

The premier said that the current government had brought about significant improvement in the ease of doing business in the country.

‘There is a need to devise an effective awareness strategy to inform the people about the on ground progress and emerging socio-economic opportunities that will be available after the operationalization of SEZs and would enable them to reap the benefits to the fullest,” he said.

The meeting was briefed on the provision of utilities, revision in existing legislative framework for incentivisation, facilitation of foreign and local investors and effective coordination between the Centre and federating units for smooth and effective implementation of the strategy.

The participants of the session were told that funds to the tune of Rs2.8 billion would be provided for provision of electricity to Bin Qasim, Dhabeji, Rashakai and Hattar SEZs during the financial year 2019-20, while four PC-I had already been submitted for facilitating the provision of electricity.

Meanwhile, additional arrangements were being made for provision of 110 million cubic feet per day (MMCFD) gas at the cost of Rs3.75 billion to different SEZs out of the total 689MMCFD requirements till 2023.

The meeting was also apprised about the revisiting of efforts in the existing legislative framework for uniform treatment to all local and foreign investors to ensure 100% foreign ownership and repatriation of profit and dividends.

The new legislative framework is being devised to encourage exports, substitution of import and local manufacturing that would check unemployment, current account deficit and facilitate transfer of technology.

The meeting was further informed that work visa and visa-on-arrival facility had already been extended to 67 countries.     It was also recommended to ensure plug-and-play infrastructure in all SEZs for attracting large foreign manufacturing companies to relocate their facilities to Pakistan.

Minister for Planning Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Minister for Power Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to the Prime Minister on Trade and Investment Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar, Board of Investment Chairman Syed Zubair Haider Gillani and senior officials were present in the meeting. 

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