KARACHI: Additional Secretary and Executive Director General of Board of Investment, Shahjahan Shah, while highlighting some of the key features of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), assured the business and industrial community of Karachi that the entire development work of the game changer CPEC project was transparently being carried out at all stages and there was absolutely no discrimination between the local and foreign investors who intend to participate in this project.
Speaking at a seminar titled “CPEC – Opportunities & Challenges” organized jointly by Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) in association with Board of Investment and Ministry of Planning, Development & Reforms at KCCI, he said that there was no secret in the CPEC project which offers equal opportunities to local and foreigner investors.
Director General BoI Ms. Nasreen Ali, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment Ms. Naheed Memon, Director BoI Zuhfran Qasim, Deputy Director BoI Aftab Ahmed, Project Director CPEC, Ministry of Planning Development & Reforms Hassan Daud along with Consular Attachés of Consulate General of China in Karachi Tony Yang and Ms. Miranda Lee were present at the seminar whereas President KCCI Shamim Ahmed Firpo, Senior Vice President Asif Nisar, Vice President Muhammad Younus Soomro, Former Presidents AQ Khalil, Majyd Aziz, Abdullah Zaki, Managing Committee members and others were also present on the occasion.
Highlighting the progress of CPEC, he said that Experts’ Groups were being formed by Board of Investment for CPEC project which will deliberate on how to build numerous economic zones. The Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, being the largest Chamber of the country, will also be given due representation in these Experts’ Groups, he assured.
He informed that the government plans to establish 46 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) alongside the route of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), of which nine Zones have already been declared prioritized while the remaining zones would also be established under CPEC’s long term plan.
Additional Secretary said that besides establishing huge infrastructure of roads, highways, railway links and economic zones etc., CPEC particularly focuses on the energy sector as many projects have been undertaken, of which some projects have already started production whereas other projects were also nearing completion which will collectively produce 10,400 Megawatts of electricity upon completion.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairperson Sindh Board of Investment Naheed Memon stated that the province of Sindh, particularly Karachi can provide best connectivity to CPEC therefore, Special Economic Zones in Sindh will prove more beneficial for this project.
She said that two special economic zones were proposed for Sindh under CPEC at Dhabeji and Keti Bander but Dhabeji Special Economic Zone is the top priority as it makes commercial sense. “Dhabeji Special Economic Zone, which is currently spread over 1000 acres of land, will showcase the cooperation between Pakistan-China industries. The Dhabeji SEZ will not remain limited to just 1000 acres as we intend to establish more such economic zones in this area”, she added.
She said that in the first phase, Dhabeji SEZ, located on the National Highway and 50 kilometers off Karachi Airport, has been incorporated in CPEC which has received a very positive response especially from Chinese investors who were keen to undertake joint ventures with their Pakistani counterparts.
Karachi would be a very large market as, after the recent census, its population was expected to increase to 30 million, Naheed Memon said, adding that Karachi was the 5th largest city of the world and it has great potential for different businesses.
She was of the opinion that Pakistan has the most liberal investment regime in the region where anyone can easily set up their businesses but over the years, nobody has ever come forward to invest in Pakistan except China which clearly indicates the strong ties between the two neighboring countries. “We couldn’t have established such a huge infrastructure comprising roads, highways, railway links and special economic zone without Chinese support”, she added.