Ambassador Nong, Minister Tarin stress expediting work on CPEC

ISLAMABAD: China and Pakistan on Tuesday underscored the importance of expediting the establishment of special economic zones (SEZs) for creating investment and employment opportunities.

Ambassador of China Nong Rong called on Minister for Finance and Revenue Shaukat Tarin at the finance division. Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Finance and Revenue Waqar Masood and Secretary Finance division were also present during the meeting.

Tarin said bilateral relationships are an epitome of enduring friendship and brotherhood.

“CPEC [China-Pakistan Economic Corridor] has ushered in a new era of economic prosperity and is of utmost importance for Pakistan. CPEC will generate abundant employment and investment opportunities in Pakistan and beyond,” he said.

Under the CPEC framework, nine economic zones dedicated to industrial development with incentives were to be set up. Tax exemptions for expatriates till 2040 were proposed as incentives to attract investments in SEZs.

The $60 billion CPEC kick-started five years back concentrating mainly on construction of roads and motorways and power plants to ensure energy security in the wake of massive power shortfall.

Within a last couple of years, a series of power projects transformed the country into an energy-surplus destination from the power-deficient one. The CPEC framework envisaged 10,000 megawatts of production capacity.

Special economic zones are the next crucial component after early harvest projects under CPEC. Initially, 27 zones were expected to be set up. The number was now reduced to nine.

The finance minister said the joint cooperation committee (JCC) has been activated. Working groups have been formed under the umbrella of JCC, which will focus on various areas, including planning, energy, industrial cooperation, infrastructure, communication, agriculture and overall socioeconomic development. The focal persons of each working group will remain in regular contact.