Agreement to develop Rashakai economic zone signed

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ISLAMABAD: A Chinese company has agreed to undertake development work at Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Gwadar Pro App reported.

In this regard, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) struck an agreement with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Economic Zone Development Management Company (KPEZDMC) on Friday.

Planning, Development and Special Initiatives Minister Asad Umar confirmed the signing of the agreement between the two sides.

“I want to share that the development agreement to establish SEZ at Rashakai has been signed,” he added.

The minister said the government had prioritized its federal development programme through mid-year review, diverting Rs6.8 billion for the provision of electricity and gas at different SEZs under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

He said under the Early Harvest Programme (EHP), projects valuing around $29 billion were either completed or nearing completion.

Asad Umar said the Chinese side would install 300mw power plant at Gwadar, adding the additional electricity from the power plant would be added to the national grid.

Earlier, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Board of Investment and Trade (KP-BOIT) Chief Executive Officer Hassan Daud had said that the agreement signed between the two sides would pave the way for physical work on ground.

Official sources said Pakistani authorities were expecting relocation of industries from China and so far more than two dozen Chinese units have shown interest to invest in Rashakai SEZ in form of standalone project or joint ventures with Pakistani counterparts.

Investors from China and other countries could be lured to invest only if the state-of-the-art infrastructure coupled with the best regulatory environment was developed at Rashakai and other proposed SEZs, sources added.

The KP government has already acquired 1,000 acres of land for Rashakai SEZ for the first phase and wanted to acquire 2,000 acres of land further for the next phase.

KPEZDMC has established Rashakai SEZ in Mardan district and is 57km away from Peshawar airport, 10km from the railway station, 19km from dry port, 4km from motorway at Col Sher Khan Interchange, 13km from highway, 13.6km away from the city centre, and 1,584km away from Karachi seaport.

Pakistan and China had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for industrial cooperation on the eve of Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held in Beijing by the end of 2018.

The establishment of SEZ with successful model and relocation of industries from China will be the most critical part for Pakistan’s economy in the wake of dwindling exports and the country’s capability to generate the required exportable surplus to come out from the existing economic quagmire.

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