ISLAMABAD           -          Chairman of Board of Investment, Atif R. Bokhari has said that industrialisation of Pakistan is the top agenda of Prime Minister Imran Khan and all-out efforts would be made to realize the vision by expediting the population of special economic zones in the country.

He expressed these views while chairing the 7th Meeting of Approvals Committee of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) at the Board of Investment (BOI), Islamabad on Thursday. The AC recommended 02 zone applications, namely JW-SEZ and Dhabeji SEZ, Sindh, for consideration by the Board of Approvals (BoA), chaired by the Prime Minister. Secretary BOI, Fareena Mazhar, representatives from federal ministries, provincial boards of investment, and SEZ developers were also present on the occasion.

The chairman BoI said that significant progress has been achieved on SEZs development and colonization during the last few months. “The teamwork by the federal and provincial government, particularly the efforts of the Project Management Unit for Industrial Cooperation (CPEC-ICDP) BOI, are helping us to remove the hurdles that are hindering the progress”. The chairman vowed that BoI will fully cooperate and ensure efficient policy formulations at high level.

Secretary BOI, Ms Fareena Mazhar briefed the Committee, saying that first private SEZ was recommended for consideration of the Board of Approval which would lead to a healthy competition between the public and private zones.

On the direction of the BoA, the Approvals Committee reconsidered the zone application of Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC), Faisalabad, and finally approved it for granting of SEZ status. It is significant to mention that the Board of Approval, in its 5th meeting, under the chair of the PM, had already granted in-principle approval for awarding of SEZ status to AIIC subject to completion of all codal formalities by the AC.

The AC also approved constitution of 03 SEZs Committees of AIIC, Bostan and Hub SEZs, allowing thereby the sale of plots in the respective SEZs as soon as the notification is issued. The SEZ committees shall have responsibilities to administer and enforce SEZ benefits and rules as well as provide facilitation between the SEZ, its enterprises and the government.

During the meeting, the “Draft Sole Enterprise SEZ Regulations” and “Draft Sale of Plot Regulations” was referred to the BoA for final approval.

The draft Sole Enterprise SEZ Regulations would provide clarity on procedural guidelines and proposes certain parameters in addition to the zone approvals criteria provided in the SEZ Act and Rules to safeguard the socio-economic interest of the country and provide passage to only serious investors for establishment of single-unit SEZs.

The draft Sale of Plot Regulations aims at providing the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) to safeguard the interest of the zone enterprise(s) while considering their application(s) by the SEZ Committee for admitting or otherwise into a Special Economic Zone (SEZ), and subsequent sale/lease/sub-lease of plots.