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KARACHI: Special Economic Zone Management Company (SEZMC) CEO Abdul Azeem Uqaili on Tuesday said few potential local parties are showing interest to take part in the re-bidding process for the development and operation of 1530 acre Dhabeji Special Economic Zone (DSEZ) as the bid submission deadline and opening of the same has been rescheduled and now fixed on March 2.

Giving a detailed presentation on 'Special Economic Zones' during his visit to Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), Uqaili said the preferred developer of DSEZ, selected earlier through bidding could not live up to his commitments and withdrew before the final agreement due to Covid-19 related restrictions and lockdowns last year.

However, the Sindh government is going to call re-bidding of the same. This time, he said some eight local parties mainly from Karachi and Lahore are taking keen interests to take part in the bidding process.

DSEZ in Thatta as the priority project under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will facilitate the potential investors of China and other countries to either start new enterprises or transfer their facilities to Pakistan.

"It offers special incentives for developers as well as for enterprises," he said. One time exemption will be given to developers from all custom duties and taxes for capital goods imported into Pakistan for the establishment of a SEZ. There will be exemption from all taxes on income accruable in relation to the development and operation of the SEZ for a period of 5 years starting from the date of signing of the development agreement.

One time exemption will be given from custom duties and taxes on imports of capital goods into SEZ for installation.

Similarly, income tax exemption would also be given for the enterprises for 10 years for units starting production by 30-06-2030, and five year for the units starting production thereafter.

Uqaili said the Dhabeji SEZ has a greater significance given its geographic and strategic location. It has easy access to Port Qasim, enabling raw material import and finished goods exports without incurring major inland transportation cost and saving time. Easy access to Karachi Airport will enable safe travel of foreign workers and management personnel. The direct access to the National Highway will enable the transportation of goods to upcountry and Central Asian nations utilizing the National Trade Corridor.

He said a number of initiatives have been taken for the infrastructure development and provision of utilities at the site. A direct access road around 8km connecting Port Qasim to Dhabeji Zone being developed by the Government of Sindh which is expected to complete by fourth quarter of 2022. Similarly, 10 million gallon water per day (MGD) connection is being provided by the provincial government through dedicated water line by KW&SB. 250 MWs electricity is being provided at the doorstep through a dedicated 220/132/11 KV grid station which will be completed by the federal government by the fourth quarter of 2023. A gas connection of 15 MMCFD is also being given at the doorstep through a dedicated line by the federal government through SSGC. It will be completed by the 2nd quarter of 2022.

A dedicated cargo deck connecting the zone with ML-1 from Dhabeji Junction has been envisaged.

FPCCI president Mian Nasser Hyatt Maggo said the DSEZ would probably the first industrial zone which is going to be established in Sindh after some 40 years.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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