Rashakai, SEZs to start new era of industrial development

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    ISLAMABAD, (APP): The Board of Investment (BOI) on Tuesday said that Rashakai Special Economic Zone will usher in a new era of industrial development in the country.

    The Completion of the Rashakai Economic Zone will encourage foreign investment and provide adequate facilities to foreign investors, the senior official of BOI told APP here.

    The senior official said that to transform the trade corridor into a true economic corridor, BOI being the secretariat for SEZs and Industrial Cooperation under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and a party to all the SEZ development agreements on the behalf of the Federal Government, after 9 long months of negotiations, on 14th September, facilitated the signing of the quad-partite development agreement for the development of the first CPEC SEZ i.e. Rashakai SEZ, in KP.

    Rashakai SEZ is to be developed in collaboration with a state-owned Chinese enterprise, which makes this development agreement the first of its kind with its Chinese counterpart being one of the parties to the development agreement, he said.

    Replying to a question he said that by l FY2018-19, only 7 SEZs existed, while 6 of them had converted from their earlier status as Industrial estates(IEs) or industrial parks (IPs).
    He said that Provision of Utilities from the Federal PSDP with BOI’s efforts and support of line ministries Rs. 19.9 billion have been earmarked in the PSDP for the provision of utilities for all the SEZs over the period of 5 years.

    He said that efforts are underway for more funding and the use of other innovative models, such as captive power to cut the costs and release the burden of such allocation.

    The senior official said that BOI being the SEZ Authority for ICT, promoted the case for award of SEZ status to the National Science and Technology Park, which is being developed by NUST for the promotion of hi-tech industry and research and development.

    He said the park was approved by the BOA in its 6th meeting held on 7th October 2020, and notified on 2nd December 2020, as an SEZ under the purview of the SEZ Act 2012 and was allowed certain exemptions by the BOA for its unique business model.

    Considering the special needs of the hi-tech and IT sector on BOI’s proposal, amendments were made in the Customs Act 1969 to expand the custom duty exemptions to include the IT sector, he said.

    He said the colonization of SEZs can be divided into two eras, pre-and post-SEZ MIS Module.
    Before the notification of the SEZ Zone Enterprise Admission and Sale, Lease and Sublease of Plots Regulations 2021, the SEZs were marred with real estate activities, he said.

    However, in order to eradicate these practices and give way to only serious investors, with effect from 1st January 2021, all zone and zone enterprise applications are being processed through the SEZ MIS Module.

    These SEZs together house 285 enterprises (excluding the Industrial Estate units in M3IC and VAC), he said.

    He said that over 84% of the industrial area allotted, 46% of the investment has been realized with 50% of it being Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

    The Federal Government has exempted Rs 49.39 Billion of custom duties and taxes on the import of plants and machinery for setting up of units in these zones.

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