Syed Marwan Shah
The Board of Investment (BoI) has given go-ahead to six applications for the grant of special economic zone (SEZ) status, reports WealthPK. The applications were placed before the eighth meeting of the Board of Approval (BoA) of the BoI for consideration by the governments of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Sindh provinces.After detailed deliberations, the BoA approved two multi-industry SEZs and four sole enterprise SEZs.
The newly-approved SEZs include Challenge Fashion SEZ, Lahore, Punjab; IVI Junction SEZ, Rajanpur, Punjab; Fatima Cement Limited, Dera Ismail Khan, KP; Premier Cement Limited, Dera Ismail Khan, KP; PFB (Pvt) Limited, Thatta, Sindh; and Roshan Sun Tao Paper Mill (Pvt) Limited, Sheikhupura, Punjab. These six SEZs are all private-sector projects. A total of $540 million in infrastructure investments will be made in the four sole enterprise SEZs.
Out of these six SEZ projects, four will be located in underdeveloped districts. Out of the other two SEZs, one is a first-of-its-kind export-oriented SEZ, while the other is the first-ever multi-industry Chinese SEZ project with 100% private investment.
Federal Minister for BoI and Special Initiatives Chaudhary Salik Hussain as chair of the BoA expressed hope that these newly-approved SEZs will not only contribute towards industrialisation, but also help in the export generation and transfer of technology while creating job opportunities across the board.
The BoA also gave approval to the constitution of SEZ committees for the newly-approved zones that would enable their operationalisation in an expeditious manner.
Ch Salik, while chairing the meeting, also emphasised the creation of a strong enforcement mechanism to ensure the commitments made by the promoters are adhered to. This will ensure that the investment is realised in a timely manner.
Asad Rehman Gilani, Secretary BoI, stated that the board is committed to providing patronage to the provincial Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) to assist them in improving their management. He stated that this forum bears tremendous responsibility for maintaining a balance between regulation and investment promotion.
Additionally, the BoA reviewed plot allotments previously made to associations of persons (AOPs), individuals, and sole proprietors in Punjab's public sector SEZs, and advised the SEZA to regularise them on a case-to-case basis for the purpose of industrialisation as long as they were able to meet the basic criteria for a zone enterprise and begin construction within six months.
Furthermore, the BoA disapproved unilateral price increases and disallowed price revisions that are not supported by any business survey and are not endorsed by the respective provincial SEZA. For sustainable development of SEZs, the minister said that while finalising the land pricing mechanisms for SEZs, funding for public sector developers should also be considered.
It has been recommended by the board that its meetings should be held frequently in order to deal with high-priority agenda items as soon as possible. In addition, the BoA enables its secretary to convene meetings of the approvals committee for dealing with routine business.
Credit : Independent News Pakistan-WealthPk