Real estate sector development in Gwadar

Historically, a small fishing village, Gwadar has gone a major transformation and now sits at the heart of Balochistan. The multi-billion dollar One Belt, One Road initiative by China has caused the rapid development of Gwadar which stands at the mouth of a deep sea port. The pace of CPEC development is the fastest in Gwadar owing to the geo-strategic importance the place holds.

Out of the initial $46 billion funded by the Chinese government, only $7 billion is being invested in about multiple different projects around Balochistan. These include:

  • The establishment of New Gwadar International Airport and CPEC Support Unit for projects and activities in Gwadar Port.
  • Construction of rail link from Gwadar to Karachi.
  • Construction of Gwadar-Turbat-Hoshab section of Gwadar-Rathodero Road (892 km) and enhancing the capacity of N-85 Hoshab-Nag-Basima, Surab Road (459 km).
  • Infrastructure development for Export Processing Zones Authority and Gwadar Industrial Estate Development Authority.
  • Water treatment, supply and distribution and a feasibility study for construction of breakwaters that would act against floods.
  • Construction of 300MW coal-fired power plant.
  • Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute at Gwadar.
  • Up-gradation of existing 50-bed hospital to 300 beds in Gwadar.

On 19 January, 2015 Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said, “Development of Balochistan is close to my heart,” and has thus set the tone for the overall development of the province. From the above list it can be seen that the various development projects under CPEC are more concentrated in Gwadar. Even though it may seem that there isn’t much being done in keeping up with the PM’s statement, there seems to elaborate plans for the whole of Balochistan by the government.

Balochistan is the largest province of Pakistan with the lowest population; it is home to only 5% of the entire country’s population. This scant population is scattered in far flung areas, that aren’t easily accessible. Therefore, the government has decided to first create Gwadar as the central hub for all economic growth and then to spread this all throughout Balochistan. The government believes that the establishment of Gwadar will set in ripple effects that would then eventually spread all towards Balochistan. Hence, the government is concerned with first creating urban centers from which then ripple effects will set in towards the other less developed regions of Pakistan.

Gwadar Professional at Ministry of Planning, Development and Reform, Mr. Arif Nazeer said, “Gwadar is the main economic hub for CPEC, therefore, all socio-economic development for Balochistan is concentrated in this region. All the development that’s taking place in Gwadar is inclusive of the development in Balochistan, as Gwadar is a part of the province.” He outlined various projects that are in the feasibility stage of being implemented under Social and Economic Welfare such as the establishment of Health units and Educational institute, railway lines, international airport, steel mill etc. These projects, he added, depend upon the projects under CPEC as these would ensure transportation of raw materials and labor etc. He added, “Previously it used to take an entire day to travel by road from Quetta to Gwadar, now with the completion of Quetta Mass Transit Road it takes barely 6-7 hours.  Such projects are providing us with linkages that were previously unavailable to us and so we need to focus on these first, to be able to maneuver the situation in the entire Balochistan.”

Furthermore, he said the twelve projects under CPEC (about seven of which are funded by Chinese grants) are being carried out in collaboration with the Balochistan government. Furthermore, the different projects under consideration at the provincial government all depend heavily on these eleven projects that are being funded by the Chinese investors. Therefore, the government has decided that it is economically viable to focus on Gwadar first and then from here find inroads to the entire province.

Presently, local and foreign investors are showing tremendous interest in the realty sector of Gwadar. People from all over Pakistan are investing in Gwadar’s real estate; buying commercial and residential plots. This is primarily because of the high level security that is being ensured by both Pakistani military and Chinese security personnel.

Data at has shown that projects like Canadian City Gwadar, S & S Gwadar and Burj Al Gwadar are drawing huge crowds of investors. This heightened activity has attracted away investors from Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad. CEO Zeeshan Ali Khan said, “We have seen spikes of 235.7% for plots, 291.42% for commercial property in the last year.”

Realtor Waqas Naseer of Universal Property Network (UPN) thinks that the future of Gwadar is bright. “In Gwadar, there is an active involvement by both Pakistani and Chinese government. Government is developing co-operative societies like New Town, Jinnah Avenue etc along with different investors. The success of Gwadar is because of the extensive security measures taken by Pakistan Army,” he said.

When questioned about the overall development of Balochistan he said, “It will take Gwadar a minimum of 4-5 years to be up and running and only after this will investors move to other areas of Balochistan. Gwadar will be at the heart of CPEC and all development in Balochistan will stem out from here. Presently, all activity is concentrated in Gwadar as it is no longer the Gwadar of 1988 when news regarding it first started to surface. In no time it will surpass Dubai with its pace of development.”

Real estate sector development in Gwadar is the most profound under CPEC and the rapid pace of development will further strengthen the entire province’s development in the near future.  It is, of immense importance that the government keeps up with its plans in Gwadar as this is the only road to the overall development of Balochistan

FBR to play crucial role in CPEC by setting up business friendly system

Minister for Planning, Development and Reform, Ahsan Iqbal has asked Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to finalize a detailed plan to ensure its crucial role in China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) by setting up business friendly and state of the art documentation system, monitoring and implementation as well as evaluation and assessment mechanism.

He issued these instructions while addressing a Business and Research Seminar on China Pakistan Economic Corridor organized by Directorate of Training and Research (Customs), FBR here on Friday.

Secretary Planning, Development & Reform, Shoaib Ahmad Siddiqui was also present on the occasion while Project Director CPEC, Hassan Daud Butt the briefed the participants regarding CPEC projects.

Minister noted that Customs has to play a crucial role in CPEC to facilitate effective channels for engaging Pakistan in global supply chain and assist in developing Pakistan’s market oriented economy and industries.

He said that Pakistan needs to synergize with fast industrialization process and innovations in technologies to ensure rapid growth and inclusive development in the country.

CPEC has provided an opportunity to promote new markets and connectivity across the entire region and there is need for further cooperation, Minister remarked while highlighting impact of CPEC on Pakistan and the region.

Minister said that historically all countries progressed by virtue of partnerships. Japan and South Korea had developed due to USA and India progressed due to alliance first with USSR and now USA. Days of non-alignment are over, he added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that Pakistan was lucky to have a time tested relationship with China. Our Vision 2025 and China’s Annual Plan complement each other Minister remarked, saying that CPEC has transformed this bilateral relation from strategic into economic nature. Minister said that currently, CPEC is fastest developing corridor in entire Belt and Road Initiative and a number of its early harvest projects are attaining completion.
Pakistan has completed Sahiwal Coal Fired critical technology plant in record time, setting a precedent that together, Pakistan and China can do wonders, Ahsan Iqbal added.
Today is the age of discovery, innovation and speed wherein old concepts as well as paradigms have become redundant, minister noted, saying In past, big used to eat small but now, fast eats slow.Every nation state has to adapt to new ways and technology.

Ahan Iqbal said that 4 ‘I’; investment, industries, information and individuals are crucial for development of any country, now beyond control of nation states.

Every country has to attract global investment and make country attractive investment destination. Security, stability of policies and sustainable growth paves way for ensuring an attractive investment destination Minister added.

Minister said that engaging country in global supply chain is crucial for industrial development. Today, manufacturing has taken shape of global supply chain as industries are going global. Toyota Japanese automobile industries are producing more vehicles in USA than Japan he added.
Information can’t be confined to geography due to age of internet while individuals have to go with tide of time and make valuable contributions by spotting opportunities and hitting at right spots without waiting for any help, Minister added.

Ahsan Iqbal said that we are at the tip of 4th Industrial revolution; an age of big datacloud computingand robotics where basic economics have to redefine their ways. We might be victims if we don’t embrace change he remarked, adding that there can be three responses to such changes; either embrace change proactively by developing our capacity and becoming competitive, wake up when the change happens and make compromise with the change or Ignore the Change and get wiped off the scene forever.

He said that in 2013, Pakistan was facing 18 to 20 hours of power outages and the country had a serious threat of civil war, whereas, industries were packing up and multi nationals were leaving Pakistan. 9% of GDP used to go for servicing deficit and stock market had crashed. We were at brink of default in 2014, Ahsan Iqbal noted.

He said that the present government had developed Vision 2025 to build a long term development planwhich has put Pakistan back to center stage of economic growth. We aim to enlist Pakistan in top 25 economies of the world. Minister said that today, deficit is down to 5% of overall GDP and foreign reserves have risen to 22 billion US Dollar while Pakistan stock exchange index has gone to 50000 points until recent political instability and negativity that has done huge harm to our development progress.

We need to ensure stability, social solidarity, internal harmony, reforms, improve and align ourselves with international happening. Otherwise our ship will sink, Ahsan Iqbal observed.

Ahsan Iqbal further told that we have seized the moment where 85 million labour intensive jobs in China are to be relocated. Otherwise the opportunities will go to Laos, Cambodia and other parts of world he said, adding that our industrialization should be robust and competitive in order to completely capitalize on this geo economic mega regional initiative.

Minister informed that 4 auto mobile companies have expressed interest in investment in Pakistan, while there will be more interest in investment from around the world provided that we develop internal harmony and ensure political stability.