CPEC SEZs to become engines of growth for Pakistan

The Special Economic Zones (SEZs) set up under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) are set to become the engines of growth for the economic stability of Pakistan.

Dr Fazal-ur-Rahman, Director of Pakistan Institute of China Studies at the Sargodha University, said, “CPEC and the associated projects will prove a historic initiative which will attract foreign investors and ultimately increase employment and business opportunities for the locals and international investors in Pakistan.” The SEZs and industrial parks are being designed with the promise of international opportunities and unlimited resources, taking the country to a journey of economic growth, he said.

He said the SEZs will take Pakistan to the path of progress and prosperity like Singapore setting records of progress and development by pursuing trade initiatives. Khalid Mansoor, former adviser to the prime minister on CPEC affairs, said Pakistan was focusing on projects that will create job opportunities for the people. “For the success of SEZs, it is imperative to combine the political, social and business elements to follow sustainable growth and lead Pakistan to the path of prosperity benefiting from the Chinese experiences,” he emphasised. Gwadar is termed the golden gate to Asia, and the CPEC is being seen as the most important route of Asian trade, said Khalid Mansoor, adding that a total of 28 mega projects had been completed in Pakistan under the project, out of which 18 were related to energy and 10 to infrastructure.

“More than 0.3 million Pakistani workers are associated with these projects, and a new dynamic skilled labour force has been developed under the Chinese supervision,” added Mansoor. “The railway and road infrastructure projects are creating new opportunities for Pakistanis to enhance regional and international trade. Approximately, 10,000MW energy will be injected into the national grid next year through different hydel and solar projects under the CPEC,” he added. Mansoor said the mega projects going to complete under the CPEC by 2025 were ML-1, Karachi-Hyderabad Motorway project, economic zones and hydropower projects. With the completion of these projects, Pakistan is likely to join the ranks of leading 25 economically stable countries, he added.

The 10 leading projects completed till 2022 include Pak-China Friendship Hospital, Pak-China Technical and Vocational Institute at Gwadar, New Gwadar International Airport, Gwadar Eastbay Expressway, Khuzdar-Basima Road (N-30), Hakla-D.I Khan Motorway, 720MW Karot Hydropower Project, AJK/Punjab, 884MW Suki Kinari Hydropower Project, KP, 330MW HUBCO ThalNova Thar Coal Power Project and 330MW HUBCO Thar Coal Power Project (Thar Energy). As per recent statistics released by the China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited, 36 energy projects under the CPEC are in the pipeline with a $27 billion investment. Most of these projects are expected to be completed by 2030. According to statistics, 11 energy projects costing $18 billion and infrastructure projects of $7 billion have already been completed in Pakistan in 2022. It is worth mentioning that the SEZs are an economic tool that countries across the world have long employed to boost economic growth.

Courtesy The Nation