Dhabeji zone attracts investors ahead of inclusion in CPEC

KARACHI: The Dhabeji Special Economic Zone, which is high on the agenda of Pakistan and China to make it part of the multibillion-dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), has received an overwhelming response from potential foreign and local investors.

The zone to be developed over an area of 1,000 acres is most likely to win CPEC status in next meeting of the Joint Coordination Committee (JCC) of the two countries scheduled to be held in December 2017.

“The zone has won 99% CPEC status. Only a formal approval is required to declare it part of the Chinese projects,” said Sindh Board of Investment (SBI) Chairperson Naheed Memon.She was talking to media on the sidelines of a dialogue between Chinese and Pakistani government officials on the development of the industrial zone.

Seven officials of China International Engineering Consultant Corporation (CIECC) were part of the dialogue, including policymaking for the zone.

Memon said SBI had received expressions of interest from around 25 big and small Pakistani and Chinese industrial investors. “The demand for acquisition of land is high enough that 1,000 acres of land for the zone seems small.”

The expressions of interest came from investors in different areas including steel, cement, chemicals, garments, logistics and pharmaceuticals.

The JCC would at least approve four special economic zones, one each in four provinces of Pakistan out of the proposed seven to eight zones in the country, it was learnt.

Dhabeji is part of the Thatta district and is near the suburbs of Karachi.

SBI has also received expressions of interest from Chinese investors for developing basic infrastructure for the zone.

Chinese are investing $62 billion in CPEC infrastructure and power houses on Pakistan’s soil.

The SBI chairperson said Sindh encouraged local investors to establish industrial units through joint ventures with Chinese investors. “This will help local investors to gain global expertise and technology.”

Joint ventures may allow local investors to avail themselves of tax holidays and other incentives to be given to the Chinese investors under CPEC. “The government wants each and every industry to be set up in the zone, it should be through joint venture,” she said.

Dhabeji SEZ nears completion

Memon said joint ventures would help Chinese investors understand Pakistan’s culture.

The federal government and the Federal Board of Revenue have the authority to approve the Dhabeji Sepcial Economic Zone.

Memon, who is also the vice chairperson of the Special Economic Zone Authority, said Dhabeji had a great strategic importance of being close to the seaport, the airport and the railways and roads network.

The zone is to see the start of construction and development work by the end of 2018, she said.

CPEC joint working group approves KCR, Dhabeji Special Economic Zone other Karachi projects

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that the approval of Karachi Circular Railway by Joint Working Group of CPEC is a big success for the people of Karachi.

Addressing a reception for Joint Working Group (JWG) of CPEC on transport infrastructure at the CM House on Saturday, he said we discussed KCR, Keti Banadr and Dhabeji Special Economic Zone projects.

The meeting approved and recommended them to Joint Coordination Committee of CPEC for implementation under the CPEC framework.

Syed Murad Ali Shah said that China Pakistan Economic Corridor would help build a robust and stable economy in Sindh together with generating sound prospects for the province to revive and expand its road connectivity. “This will augment a new era of connectivity leading to employment generation and decent transportation,”  he said.

He said that a joint Cooperation Committee meeting on China Pakistan Economic Corridor was held in Beijing, China on 29th December, 2016 where  “he proposed Karachi Circular Railway, Keti Bandar and China Special Economic Zone, Dhabeji for development under CPEC, which were accepted.

The chief minister said the Sindh government  approved the feasibility and framework agreement of the Karachi Circular Railways and shared that with federal government to execute this mega project of high of priority.

“The KCR is an integral part of the comprehensive Mass Transit System  which would attract a ridership of 700,000 per day.

Murad Ali Shah said that the Sindh’s coastline is more than 300 km long with two ports Karachi Port and Bin Qasim. A new jetty at Keti Bundar would enhance county’s capability to export coal. It also has the potential to develop into a full port. “Five million people living in the surrounding areas would directly benefit from this project,” he said.

Talking about Dhabeji Special Economic Zone, the chief minister said this project stretches over 1000 acres and is located about 55 kilometers from Karachi at the eastern alignment of the CPEC.  “It has commercial viability and development potential in the immediate terms,” he said and went on to say  with the advent of the agro-based industry  this economic zone would usher in prosperity.

He said that the CPEC would prove to be historic milestone in the history of Pakistan-China relations which would not only bring extensive development opportunities to the province but would also bring development to the under developed areas of the country.