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Economic Zone, CPEC & the confusion




Idea of constituting a Joint Action Committee over China Pakistan Economic Corridor was first conceived in 2015, from there JCC meetings took place in Beijing and Islamabad both. During the first joint working group meeting, industrial cooperation was addressed and Pakistan pitched in as it possesses abundance of labour and requisite market potential. China nodded for further cooperation and this took off with Pakistan’s exploration of China’s economic zones. Pakistan wanted to replicate the special economic zones for further cooperation, earlier Pakistan wished to establish 3 economic zones under CPEC and now there are 9 in the pipeline and one ready to operate from April this year.
Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa & Balochistan to get one each. Among all these zones, KP is the first to have first special economic zone of its own, at Rashakai. At the Rashakai, the land available is 1000 acres where the businesses shall get uninterrupted power supply for 24/7 operations, it’s an income-tax free zone for the businesses which will be operated from here, there is special 25% discount on the land and those who want to attain the land on installments, the markup is as low as 5% for 5 years plan. That’s not it, Rashakai offers one time capital goods import duty free. The zone is located at a distance of 65 km from dry port, 50 km from the airport, directly connected to motorway and 5 km away from highway. This is one, Pakistan shall get another 8 if CPEC remains intact. Government has shelved Rahim Yar Khan 1320 MW power plant and there are 400 other projects that PTI thinks were politically motivated. If the country comes across any hiccups, then Pakistan shall need to forget economic zones, uninterrupted power supply, better law and order situation and a lot more, the sacrifices would be fatal for the economy and the common man as well. Government and China clarified on the issue regarding CPEC, that it was nothing like the deal between China and Malaysia or China and Singapore. If CPEC is actually a game-changer, why are we wasting it then?

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