SEZs are the lynch pin of Govt’s Industrial Policy

PM Imran Khan is prioritizing SEZ's as a catalyst for industrial development and the route to fast economic growth and job creation across Pakistan. He has approved over 13 SEZs, in 2020 alone.

Industrial Policy

A Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is an economic and tax policy lenient area used to promote industrial growth in a country. It promotes trade, employment, economic growth and attracts foreign investors.

Many developing countries are using SEZs as a strategy all around the world, and mostly in developing countries in order to speed up industrialization. SEZ development modes can be through private, public, or jointly through the public and private sector partnerships.

Read more: SEZs and why Pakistan needs them

Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan did the ‘soft’ launch of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park, in Lahore on Saturday, July 18th, 2020. Global Village Space (GVS) was the first publication that had informed its readers, through its detailed story, on June 23rd, that the Punjab Govt had been working tirelessly towards a soft launch of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park.

This work was done to kick start and encourage economic activity – slowed by pandemic – by attracting and facilitating industrial investments and construction work in the country’s largest province.

The business park is primarily built to bring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country which would create opportunities for growth for a wide range of industries.

Read more: Quaid e Azam Business Park: Soft Launch by PM Imran Khan on 18th July

The launch of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park was due on March 28th, 2020, only a few weeks after the Prime Minister inaugurated another special economic zone (SEZ) near Faisalabad (Jan 2020).

However, the expected launch of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park (QABP) on March 28th was delayed due to the outbreak of COVID-19 in Pakistan. Crisis and government’s own SOPs of social distancing did not allow onsite inauguration with large gatherings.

The business park is primarily built to bring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country which would create opportunities for growth for a wide range of industries.

The business park is primarily built to bring Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into the country which would create opportunities for growth for a wide range of industries. The preferred industries for this industrial area are manufacturing services, auto parts, pharmaceuticals, chemicals, light engineering, plastics, information technology, electronics, food and beverages, logistics, mobile manufacturing and warehousing.

Read more: Why Pakistan’s SEZ law may need fixing?

The business park will also provide jobs in the province as the project is aligned with Prime Minister Imran Khan’s vision of creating 10 million jobs during his tenure.

The government considers the industrial sector of paramount importance for the country’s fast development. The Chief Minister of Punjab, Sardar Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar at the inauguration of Quaid-e-Azam Business Park said that the Park will go a long way in boosting industrialization in Pakistan and would create approximately 500,000 jobs.

Previously on March 4th, in two separate meetings, Prime Minister Imran Khan had approved the establishment of 10 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) in the four provinces.

Read more: China and the history of its Special Economic Zones

Out of these ten proposed special economic zones, four zones have been assigned to Punjab Industrial Estates Development & Management Company (PIEDMC) This includes Quaid-e-Azam Business Park, Rahim Yar Khan Industrial Estate, Bhalwal Industrial Estate and Vehari Industrial Estate.

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 in Sindh (Naushahro Feroze and Bhulari), two in Balochistan (Bostan and Hub) and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (Rashakai).

In October 2020, three further SEZs were approved making the total SEZs to 20. These new SEZs were National Science & Technology Park in Islamabad, JW-SEZ China-Pakistan SEZ Raiwind in Punjab, and Dhabeji SEZ in Sindh.

Read more: SEZ policy of Pakistan

The federal government which is responsible for according approvals will provide utilities. The provincial governments will be responsible for developing the zones.

These SEZs will attract foreign investors, who would relocate their manufacturing establishments to Pakistan and benefit the country with investments and jobs, ushering in a new era of industrialization.


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