Imran calls for inclusion of provinces in establishment of SEZs

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Wednesday all the initiatives to set up special economic zones (SEZs) would be spearheaded by the federal government while taking the provinces fully on board.

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

He also directed the officials concerned to address issues pertaining to land availability, creation of jobs and wealth so as to help turn the wheel of the economy.

“We should remain competitive by providing incentives on the transfer of technology and relocation of industries from China, in line with the incentives being provided by other regional countries,” he stressed.

The prime minister said the present government had brought about a significant improvement in the ease of doing business in the country. There was a need to devise an effective awareness strategy to inform the people about the on-ground progress and emerging socio-economic opportunities which would be available after the SEZs’ operationalization, he added.

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

It was informed that funds to the tune of Rs2.8 billion would be provided for the 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 facilitation in the provision of electricity.

Moreover, additional arrangements were being made for the provision of 110MMCFD gas at the cost of Rs3.75 billion to different SEZs (out of total 689MMCFD requirement until 2023).

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

A new legislative framework was being devised to encourage exports and local manufacturing which would check unemployment, current account deficit and facilitate the transfer of technology, it was added.

Work visa and visa on arrival facility for 67 countries had already been extended, the meeting was further informed.

It was also recommended to ensure ‘plug n play’ infrastructure in all SEZs to attract foreign manufacturing companies to relocate their facilities to Pakistan.

Planning Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, Power Minister Omar Ayub Khan, Adviser to Prime Minister on Commerce Abdul Razzak Dawood, Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Special Assistant Nadeem Babar and Board of Investment Chairman Syed Zubair Haider Gillani.

 

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