Four Special Economic Zones (SEZs), which are under construction, will create 1.47 million jobs besides playing an important role in promoting the local industry to lead the country towards sustainable economic growth.
“Rashakai M-1 SEZ (Nowshera), Dhabeji SEZ (Thatta), Allama Iqbal Industrial City (Faisalabad) and Bostan SEZ (Balochistan) will create around 475,000 direct and 1 million indirect jobs across the country,” a senior official of the Board of Investment (BoI) told APP on Monday.
Talking to APP, the official voiced hope that the SEZs would jointly promote overall industrial growth in the country and reaffirmed that the development of these zones was the top priority of the government.
He was of the view that industrial cooperation with China would make Pakistan a manufacturing hub in the region while the establishment of industrial zones would steer investment opportunities for local businessmen.
The 1,000-acre Rashakai SEZ has attracted over 2,000 domestic and foreign investors from different sectors of the economy and it is playing a vital role in promoting rapid industrialisation in the country. He said that the SEZ would be developed in three phases and as per the plan construction work would be done on 247 acres of land in the first phase, 355 acres in the second phase and 399 acres in the third phase.
Similarly, the federal government will provide 210 megawatts of electricity to the SEZ in three phases while it has earmarked Rs1.2 billion for gas supply.
Around 80% of employment in the Rashakai SEZ would be provided to locals, he said, adding that the SEZ had the potential to become a hub of economic activity.
He highlighted that the Rashakai SEZ was connected to all provinces through airports, dry ports, railway stations, motorways and highways. The zone is located at the confluence of five major districts of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, ie Nowshera, Mardan, Swabi, Charsadda and Peshawar.
“There is fertile land in the adjoining districts which is suitable for growing a variety of cash crops and vegetables,” he said. “The SEZ will house more than 400 industrial units including those of garments and textile products, home appliances, general commercial goods, electronics and electrical appliances, automobiles and mechanical equipment.”
Talking to APP, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce and Investment Abdul Razak Dawood earlier said that the SEZs would spark a wave of economic and industrial development in Pakistan.
The Rashakai SEZ would pave the way for foreign investment, setting the stage for industrial modernisation and diversification in the country, the adviser said.
He said that the SEZ would set a new direction for modern industrialisation and push up foreign direct investment (FDI) in the country.
Replying to a question on the shift of industries from China to Pakistan, he said, “We are looking forward to welcoming Chinese industries in our SEZs in the joint venture (JV) mode.”
He called on the government to prioritise the development of SEZs for attracting FDI and facilitating transfer of technology to the country.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2021.