The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has observed that the establishment of the Special Economic Zones (SEZs) would be futile, if industries are not installed there timely.
The 37th meeting of the Parliamentary Committee on CPEC held under the chairmanship of MNA Sher Aftab Ali was informed that issues pertaining to sale and cancellation of plots in SEZs need to be resolved at the earliest so that the process of establishing industries in SEZs could be expedited.
MNAs Noor Alam Khan, Sadaqat Ali Khan Abbasi, Mir Khan Muhammad Jamali, Nafeesa Inayatullah Khan Khattak, Ghous Bux Khan Mahar, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq, Murtaza Javed Abbasi, Mehnaz Akber Aziz, Muhammad Aslam Bhootani and others were in attendance.
The committee emphasised on the need to move towards ease of doing business so as to attract massive local and foreign direct investment in Pakistan.
The committee was briefed by additional secretary of Ministry of Planning, secretaries of Ministry of Defence, Board of Investment, Power Division, Petroleum Division, Ministry of Railways and others regarding security measures for projects under CPEC framework, Mainline-1 (ML-1) project with special focus on ET component and updated progress on SEZs.
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The committee highlighted that quarters concerned should incentivise industries in SEZs in such a way that the SEZs established in Pakistan could compete with other countries in the region.
Moreover, apart from focusing on agriculture and industrial sectors, the untapped potential in tourism should also be exploited. A lot of revenue and employment opportunities can be generated by establishing integrated tourism zones in the country under CPEC framework.
The committee, while receiving the briefing on security measures for projects under CPEC framework, maintained that issues faced by SEZs in terms of security measures affect businesses.
Measures which could thrive businesses in Pakistan should be made our top priority because economic stability will lead to peace and security in Pakistan.
The goals envisaged under CPEC cannot be achieved without local ownership therefore issues faced by locals in terms of security arrangements should be resolved at the earliest so that local ownership of CPEC projects could be secured.
While passing through security check posts, locals as well tourists should be dealt with politeness and their self-respect should be maintained.
The committee remarked that the world is increasingly moving towards adoption of modern technologies. Adding Electric Traction (ET) component in Mainline-1 (ML-1) project after eight to 10 years would become obsolete and costly.
Given the huge benefit of ET component in ML-1 in terms of its payback, cost and compatibility with environment, “we need to move towards its adoption right from now and upgrade existing infrastructure of project to the electric traction”.