The development of Dhabeji Special Economic Zone (SEZ) will kick start earlier next year and the scheme is likely to generate $1 billion in investment, said Special Assistant to Chief Minister Sindh on Investment and Public-Private Partnership Syed Qasim Naveed Qamar.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Qamar said that the project will create 100,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities as well. He announced that the government of Sindh had issued a letter of award (LOA) to a private contractor for Dhabeji SEZ project.
“Russian and Chinese investors showed far higher interest in the SEZ than the expectations of the government,” he said.
Qamar emphasised on creating job opportunities in the country to improve economic conditions which had deteriorated on the back of persistent uptick in inflation.
“Mega projects such as Dhabeji SEZ will definitely create higher amount of jobs,” he cherished.
He highlighted that the SEZ was a priority project under the industrial cooperation phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
The government of Sindh decided to execute the scheme through international competitive bidding process under public-private partnership (PPP) mode.
The PPP board, in its 34th meeting, finalised the developer for Dhabeji SEZ, he said, adding that the bidding process was completed in a fair and transparent manner in accordance with the rules of Sindh Public Procurement Regulatory Authority.
The developer, which was finalised based on higher value for money, would be responsible to provide all utilities, build infrastructure and carry out operations and maintenance in the SEZ.
Qamar mentioned that the government of Sindh had ensured provision of utilities and direct access by connecting Port Qasim and National Highway through a dedicated route, which would make Dhabeji an economic and commercial hub of industrialisation near Karachi.
Provincial and federal governments are committed to spend over Rs12 billion to create an enabling environment with regard to external infrastructure and facilities.
He further added that a consortium of consultants – EY Ford Rhodes, EA Consulting and RIAA Law – was engaged through a competitive process for developer’s solicitation of the SEZ.
He said that Sindh Economic Zones Management Company (SEZMC), under Section 42 of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan, was authorised by the provincial government to develop and manage Dhabeji SEZ to strengthen the industrial base of Sindh.
Sindh Investment Department Secretary Bilal Ahmed said that the special economic zone was of immense importance for Pakistan, especially Sindh.
He was of the view that all the other industrial areas in Karachi such as Korangi Industrial Area, SITE industrial Area were oversaturated.
SEZMC Chief Executive Officer Abdul Azeem Uqaili highlighted that the second-phase of CPEC was about industrial cooperation and Dhabeji SEZ was built under this phase. The project would restore industrialisation in the surrounding area of Karachi, he said, adding that the zone would create around 200,000 jobs either directly or indirectly.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 27th, 2021.
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