On 4th March, in two separate meetings, Prime Minister Imran Khan approved the establishment of 10 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the four provinces and concurrent privatisation of 33 state entities/lands during current fiscal year. Out of these ten proposed special economic zones, four zones have been assigned to Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC).
According to the PM Office, five of the 10 SEZs will be established in Punjab (Bhalwal, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Vehari and Allama Iqbal SEZ), two each in Sindh (Naushahro Feroze and Bhulari) and two in Balochistan (Bostan and Hub) and one in Khyber Pahtunkhwa (Rashakai).
Out of these five proposed special economic zones (in Punjab) four zones have been assigned to Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC). PIEDMC has already completed most work in three economic zones (Bhalwal, Rahim York Khan and Vihari) while the land has been acquired for fourth zone and all preparations have already been completed to develop fourth economic zone in Bahawalpur.
In fact PIEDMC has already been managing industrial estates in these three areas and now these industrial estates will get the status of SEZs – with tax related incentives for investments and industries.
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday at two separate meetings approved establishment of 10 special economic zones (SEZs) in the four provinces and privatisation of 33 state entities/lands during current Escal year.https://t.co/Iri3NXOj3T
— Voice of KP (@Voice_of_KP) March 5, 2020
At one of the meeting, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government was committed to provide ease of doing business and a favourable environment to the business community to generate economic activity in the country.
The Secretary Board of Investment (BoI) informed the participants of the meeting that 13 SEZs had so far been notified while work on setting up 12 more in the public sector and six in the private sector was in progress. The meeting was told that after approval of SEZ related law in 2012 (amended in 2016) only seven special economic zones were set up in the country till 2018, while the incumbent PTI government had notified six new zones in a single year (2019).
What is PIEDMC?
PIEDMC is a section-42 company, incorporated under Companies Ordinance 1984. It is an autonomous, not for profit entity owned by the Government of Punjab and is run by a Board of Directors (BOD) comprising of private sector industrialists and ex-officio members. PIEDMC is thus a successful example of Public-Private Partnership.
This entity was the brainchild of Jehangir Khan Tareen when he was Advisor for Special Initiatives to CM Punjab (Pervaiz Illahi) in early 2003. This entity, PIEDMC, was formed with the vision to promote industrialization across the province of Punjab.
It follows a self-sustaining model with an aim to develop industrial estate in every District of Punjab Province. Its success in launching Sundar Industrial Estate in 2003/4, near Lahore inspired another such Public-Private Partnership company called FIEDMC which is focused on industrial development near Faisalabad.
More economic zones?
Chairman Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC), Syed Nabeel Hashmi, has applauded the Prime Minister Imran Khan for making a decision that would lead the country’s growth in the right direction. He believes that building more industrial estates would facilitate the local and foreign investors to import their machinery in all these economic zones without taxes and duties and tax holiday for ten years.
The chairman PIEDMC also endorsed to the Prime minister that with the establishment of these economic zones will not only provide facilities and incentives to the business community but usher a new era of development in province of Punjab and decision is also in line to fulfill vision of PM to provide and create jobs to 20 million people.
Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) – CPEC’s high-priority special economic zone of Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) – is already seeing keen interest from several foreign corporations
Nabeel Hashmi, Chairman PIEDMC, also appreciated the support of the Provincial Minister of Industries Mian Muhammad Aslam Iqbal for his support and guidance towards rapid industrialisation in Punjab province. He moved on to reveal that these economic zones will be developed on pattern of Sundar Industrial Estate in Lahore, where all infrastructure including electricity, roads, sewerage and other developmental facilities have been provided, keeping in view the international construction standards.
Sundar Industrial Estate, established by PIEDMC through public-private partnership (PPP) from 2004 onwards is not classified as a “Special Economic Zone (SEZ) but it has been developed in such a way that it meets most standards currently set for an SEZ. “On completion of these four additional economic zones more than 200,000 jobless people will be employed directly and about one million would be benefited indirectly”, he added.
PIEDMC’s initiatives towards 100% colonisation of estates
Since the new management has taken office, in 2019, PIEDMC has been trying its level best to attain a 100% operational status (colonisation) in all of its industrial estates. As mentioned above, PIEDMC is managing several industrial estates across Punjab. These include Rahim Yar Khan Industrial Estate, Bhalwal Industrial Estate, Sundar Industrial Estate, Multan Industrial Estate, Quaid-e-Azam Industrial Estate, Vehari Industrial Estate, Quaid-e-Azam Business Park and Bahawalpur Industrial Estate.
The predominant work of Public-Private Partnerships, like PIEDMC and FIEDMC, is to build state-of-the-art industrial estates and facilitate the phase 2 of CPEC. This will in turn promote production, trade, increased investment, job creation, and effective administration.
Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) – CPEC’s high-priority special economic zone of Faisalabad Industrial Estate Development and Management Company (FIEDMC) – is already seeing keen interest from several foreign corporations. Chairman FIEDMC, Mian Kashif Ashfaq, explained that a sum of Rs. 357 billion (foreign and local investment) is expected to flow into various projects, which indicates that investors already have complete confidence in the present regime.
Given the efforts of PIEDMC and FIEDMC, backed by the Prime Minister, many in the business and the government anticipate an influx of foreign investments (FDI) especially from the investors in the GCC countries. However this may need a more realistic and continuous facilitation of these industrial estates and SEZs by the federal and provincial governments. This means better, quicker and cheaper provision of electricity from national grids, efficient refunds and promised investments from the government.