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SEZs ‘to turn Pakistan into engine of growth’


7/5/2017

ISLAMABAD:
Federal Minister for Planning, Development and Reform Ahsan Iqbal assured that China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will not harm domestic industries and interests of the local business community.

Addressing a meeting, held to review the development status of Special Economic Zones (SEZ) under CPEC, Iqbal instructed federal and provincial authorities to keep the business community in the loop about latest developments and policies. He also assured of their inclusion in the consultative process for policy formulation to protect indigenous industries.

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The meeting was attended by the Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Dr Miftah Ismail along with other BoI members and senior officials of the provincial governments.

“Chinese investment will augment our industrial capacity through state-of-the-art technology and expertise transfers, which will increase our productivity,” he remarked while putting emphasis on formation of joint ventures between local and Chinese manufacturers through increased business collaboration.

The minister updated participants on the status of several energy and infrastructure-related projects, promising increased trade and industrialisation in Pakistan once they are completed.

Highlighting the importance of SEZs, Iqbal said that the next stage of CPEC encompasses massive production in these zones leading to higher output and exports.

“Development of SEZs will play an important role in the future of CPEC by converting Pakistan into an engine of growth,” he stated while instructing officials to prepare comprehensive strategy papers to attract investments.

He also stressed on the importance of taking advantage of the ‘window of opportunity’ created by unprecedented foreign [Chinese] investments in the country

“A paradigm shift is taking place as the world passes through a fourth industrial revolution where automation and robotics are replacing relatively expensive manual labour.”

Pakistan needs to take advantage of its cheaper labour to overcome the technology gap while maintaining production levels, added the minister.

“Provincial governments also need to take concrete steps in order to make SEZs a success,” he said, adding that the country needs a robust industrial base to ensure sustainable economic development and creation of employment opportunities in view of the ballooning labour force.

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Representatives from provincial governments and federal territories including FATA and Gilgit-Baltistan gave detailed briefings on the status of SEZs in their areas during the meeting.

Source: The Express Tribune