Pakistan PM launches special economic zone, 200,000 jobs to be generated

Imran Khan Rashakai SEZ
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan at the launch ceremony of Rashakai special economic zone in Rashakai, Nowshera in KP province, on May 28. Image Credit: PID

Islamabad: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday inaugurated the Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ) that would create at least 200,000 job opportunities and give new impetus to Pakistan’s export-oriented industrialisation.

Rashakai, one of the nine SEZs under the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), will begin a new era of industrialisation in Pakistan, PM Imran Khan said.

The SEZ is being constructed in Nowshera, Pakistan’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. The zone is being built at the cost of $242 million with the collaboration of China’s state enterprise China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) and KP Economic Zone Development and Management Company (KPEZDMC).

Rashakai Special Economic Zone SEZ Pakistan
Artist’s impression of Pakistan’s Rashakai Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Image Credit: Supplied

Prime Minister Imran Khan says the government is taking all-out steps to incentivise investors for the promotion of industrialisation and exports in the country. There will be one-window operation to make it an investor-friendly zone and to remove the hurdles by facilitating local and foreign investors. Rashakai SEZ is a landmark project that would help attract direct foreign investment, bolster industrialisation, create new jobs for the skilled workforce, and increase exports – imperative for sustainable economic development, he said.

Industrial development and jobs

The location of the economic zone, close to Afghanistan and Central Asian States (CARs) would accelerate the pace of economic and industrial development and take the country’s exports to new heights, and transform the KP province into a hub of trade and investment, the premier stated.

Speaking at the ceremony, Chinese Ambassador Nong Rong said the Rashakai SEZ would drive “industrial development in Pakistan”, create more jobs for youth and accelerate economic progress. It will also help enhance economic cooperation between Pakistan and China, he said.

Industrial sectors

These industrial sectors have been planned and proposed at Rashakai SEZ:

· Pharmaceutical

· Textile

· Food and beverage

· Homebuilding materials

· Electronics and electrical appliances

· Automobile and mechanical equipment

Trade and investment hub

The Rashakai SEZ is prioritised as a special economic park spreading over an area of about 1,000 acres near the provincial capital of Peshawar. The zone under the CPEC framework will become an important trade hub for the region with the collaboration of Pakistan and China, says CEO of KPEZDMC Javed Khattak.

The project will be completed in three phases. It had attracted $128 million Chinese investment, according to special assistant to KP chief minister on industries Abdul Karim Khan said.

Rashakai SEZ has attracted the interest of more than 2,000 potential investors, according to the government. CPEC Authority chairman Asim Saleem Bajwa said Phase 2 of CPEC includes “industrialisation through establishing export-oriented SEZs”.