Gwadar SEZ to be declared tax-free zone

Reports of delays in CPEC projects false, sources say

ISLAMABAD: The Balochistan government is working on a plan to declare the Gwadar Special Economic Zone (SEZ) as a tax-free zone under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), in addition to introducing a one-window system to facilitate local and foreign investors.

Profit also learnt that the industrial zone would comprise three parts in which an education city and a diplomatic zone will also be established. A 250km long road network has also been laid to facilitate the smooth flow of traffic. 

An official source privy to the matter told Profit the Balochistan government is undertaking numerous projects worth Rs20 billion for the uplift of the people of Gwadar and inviting investors for the generation of revenue, which can help the port city on the southwestern coast of Balochistan transform into a regional economic hub.

In this regard, the provincial government is all set to allocate 20,000 acres of land and has formulated rules for land allotment in industrial zones, according to which land will now only be allotted to industrialists who will set up businesses within the stipulated timeframe. 

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Speaking about development and infrastructure in the port city, the source said that issues of water and electricity would be resolved for citizens by the end of 2022 under the 2050 Gwadar Master Plan, whereas work is in full swing on a desalination plant, which will convert five million gallons of seawater into drinking water, and a 300 megawatts coal-fired power plant. “Both of these projects will be functional by January 2023.” 

So far, over 40 Chinese companies have pledged to invest in the first phase of the Gwadar SEZ, while another 200 companies have registered with the China Overseas Ports Holding Company (COPHC) for further investments. With these investments, the first phase of the special economic zone under CPEC has been completed.

Future investments in Gwadar Industrial Zone would include new industrial units, including textiles, chemicals, automobiles and mobile phones which will create employment opportunities for the local people.   

Questioned about delays in CPEC projects, the official rejected the notion, saying that work is in full swing and there are no impediments as the federal government has extended its full cooperation. 

The official stated that despite the coronavirus pandemic, the pace of work has not slowed down on CPEC projects. “Many projects have, in fact, been completed ahead of time,” they added. “Soon, a liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal will also be established at the port, where cargo ships have started arriving and operations are in full swing.”

It may be mentioned here that after the completion of CPEC projects in Gwadar, it will become the largest port in the region and an important economic hub in the world, benefitting various countries.

 

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Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He can be reached at [email protected]

5 COMMENTS

  1. Tax freeing of Gwadar SEZ is another step towards Pakistan selling Gwadar and Balochistan to China. In fact, Pakistan’s army and government have jointly sold Balochistan’s natural resources and its strategic importance to China under CPEC, which the Baloch people have right. Anyway, Pakistan or Balochistan are not getting any benefit in CPEC. Under the CPEC all the projects are being done by Chinese companies, and Chinese laborers are being given jobs. Even construction material is being purchased from Chinese companies only. In such a situation, only tax is left with Pakistan, which can be shown in earnings. Now after becoming tax free, that tax revenue will also go away from the Pakistan part. But the pockets of generals and officers of the Pakistani Army will continue to be filled. If this continues, Balochistan and the whole of Pakistan will one day become a slave of China and CPEC will prove to be the next “East India Company” for Pakistan.

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