Expedite work on SEZs

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MINISTER for Planning and Development, Prof.Ahsan Iqbal, has asked relevant ministries and departments to expedite work on establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) including the one at Islamabad which would be spread over one thousand acres.

Chairing a meeting to review progress on CPEC projects on Friday, he also directed Pakistan’s embassy in Beijing to pursue CPEC projects effectively.

Prof.Ahsan Iqbal was deeply involved in evolution and implementation of the CPEC initiative and is, therefore, taking a keen interest to revive the momentum that Pakistan lost during the previous government.

He is regularly monitoring progress of all projects and keeps liaise with concerned ministries and institutions to ensure implementation of all agreed projects and programmes.

It may be pointed out that China has all along been expressing its commitment to invest in a big way in Pakistan and this resolve was once again reiterated by its Consul General in Lahore Zhao Shiren, who, during a visit to Punjab Board of Investment and Trade, assured complete support and other steps to encourage Chinese investors to relocate to Punjab and form partnerships with the local investors.

However, this objective is not materializing satisfactorily mainly because of slow-paced work on establishment of nine SEZs under the CPEC framework that are supposed to promote the one window operation for investment.

It is regrettable that the provincial governments are not taking due interest to provide necessary infrastructure and basic facilities for these zones despite the fact that they have the potential to help overcome economic and financial woes of the country by way of rapid industrialization.

We hope the Minister for Planning would take personal interest to ensure that the one envisaged in Islamabad materializes at a fast pace and becomes a model for others to emulate.