The Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) is the beginning of progress for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Pakistan, said Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday.
Addressing the agreement-signing ceremony for the SEZ, PM Imran said that establishing an economical zone in the province was of utmost importance as it would open doors to several avenues of investment.
“This will give the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa a chance to set up industries here,” he said.
Referring to a United Nations report, the premier said that human development and reduction in poverty on a large scale were being done in KP.
“The least opportunities for employment are available in the province. And as a result, people were leaving for Gulf countries while others went to Karachi,” he said.
“Hence, setting up this industrial zone was necessary and I am happy that the progress on the Rashakai Economic Zone was the fastest among the four industrial zones that are to be set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor,” the premier said.
PM Imran said that this industrial zone would be even more fruitful if the Afghan peace talks — for which Pakistan has strived — were successful.
Talking about the planned railways’ projects, the prime minister said that the country’s transportation system would be revolutionised when they will be built.
PM Imran said Pakistan’s next phase would focus on industrialisation as it was de-industrialised over the past couple of years.
“In the ’60s the growth of industries was impressive, afterwards [a policy of nationalisation] made Pakistan a trading country. Our exports fell, even the countries of smaller sizes have exports 10 times compared to Pakistan,” he said.
Project to ‘accelerate’ industrialisation in Pakistan
Earlier in the day, Chairman CPEC Authority Asim Saleem Bajwa had said that the Rashakai project will accelerate industrialisation in Pakistan.
Taking to Twitter, Asim Bajwa said that China Road and Bridge Construction Company is the development partner with the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government for this particular project.
Federal ministers, representatives from various ministries, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa officials, and different stakeholders are set to be part of the event.
The SEZ will pave the way for the establishment of new zones, Board of Investment (BoI) Chairperson Atif R Bokhari had said.
Such “economic zones will lead to a prosperous and industrial Pakistan”, Bokhari added, noting that quite a lot of progress has been made in the zones established under the CPEC.
Zones are now being prepared for business, the BoI official had added.
The geographical proximity between Pakistan and China will help in populating economic zones, as well as contribute to mutual economic gains.
At least Rs3 billion have been allocated to provide 210 MW of electricity and 30 million cubic feet per day (mmcfd) gas to the economic zone.
“The timely construction and development of the zone will be possible with the provision of all the basic facilities required,” Bokhari had said, adding that the zone, constructed via an investment worth Rs128 million, covering an area of 1,000 acres.
It was designated as a special economic zone in August 2019, Bokhari added.