Pakistan is in the process of developing five out of nine Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC. The government and private investors have paid significant attention towards these SEZs. The establishment of SEZs is an effective approach for promoting trade, employment, and economic growth in the country.
The SEZs namely, Rashakai SEZ in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh, Allama Iqbal Industrial City in Faisalabad, Boston SEZ in Balochistan, and Gwadar Free Zone SEZ in Gwadar are in development phase. These SEZs are meant to increase economic activity in the country, generate employment opportunities, and attract foreign exchange.
The development in Gwadar Free Zone is very fast-paced with its first phase at an area of 60-acre land, fully operational and the second phase spanning over 2200 acres of land, under construction.
These SEZs are carefully monitored by both Pakistani and Chinese authorities. The Pakistani government has also shown interest in relocating the Chinese industries in the CPEC SEZs to benefit from the expertise of the companies.
In order to increase exports and to substitute the country’s imports, the authorities are particularly eager to bring foreign direct investment in various sectors including, agriculture, textile, information technology, science and technology, and mining. The upcoming CPEC projects will primarily focus on these sectors, which will serve as a dual-beneficial tool to raise the country’s exports while decreasing imports.
Together, all the SEZs that have been notified across the country account for nearly 10,029.64 acres of industrial land, of which 5,220.62 acres (52%) have been allotted to investors for the purpose of setting up industry with planned investments of Rs 633.9 billion, 43.6% of which is comprised of FDI component (USD 1.73 billion).
The Special Economic Zones will offer instant access to high-quality infrastructure, uninterruptible power supply, clearly titled land, public facilities and support services. Moreover, they will enhance growth and create investment and employment opportunities in the country.