Published Date: May 29, 2021
Interview: Rashakai SEZ under CPEC to boost Pakistan’s economy amid financial challenges, says Pakistani expert
ISLAMABAD, May 28 (Xinhua) — The Rashakai special economic zone (SEZ) being established under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) will boost Pakistan’s economy by promoting industrialization in the country amid a plethora of financial challenges, a Pakistani expert said.
“The development of the Rashakai SEZ is timely and a step in the right direction, because at this point of time, Pakistan direly needs new economic activities which can help the country to revive its economy amid multiple financial challenges including paying back loans taken from international financial institutions,” Shakeel Ahmad Ramay, a political economist and director of the China Study Center at the Sustainable Development Policy Institute in Pakistan, told Xinhua on Friday.
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan addressed the commercial launching ceremony of the Rashakai SEZ in the country’s northwest Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province on Friday, saying that industrialization is the future of Pakistan, and the Rashakai SEZ and other SEZs will help increase the country’s exports, which will eventually facilitate wealth creation.
Ramay believes that the Rashakai SEZ will play a vital role in promoting socio-economic development, trade, employment and economic growth for the people of KP province in particular and the whole country in general.
Highlighting the multi-dimensional importance of the SEZ, Ramay said that it will immediately bring around 80 million U.S. dollars of Chinese investment for the first factory being built in the zone, and create immense opportunities for the locals in terms of business activities and employments.
“Pakistan is blessed with the youth bulge, and this Rashakai SEZ will create 200,000 new jobs which will definitely benefit the youth,” he said, adding that it is also expected to bring over 2.1 billion U.S. dollars in the form of investment according to Pakistan’s Board of Investment, which is quite encouraging as Pakistan needs investment for industrialization.
The industries to be set up at the Rashakai SEZ include garments and textile products, food processing, home building materials, electrical appliances and mechanical instruments.
“All these sectors of Pakistan can be benefited with the implementation of the economic zone,” he said, adding that agricultural, fruit and dairy products of KP province, especially those from the tribal areas, can benefit by establishing food processing industries in the economic zone.
Calling the Rashakai SEZ ideally located, Ramay said that it can be a catalyst for the building of a link between the CPEC and Afghanistan and among Central Asian countries.
“If properly handled, it will prove to be a hub of regional connectivity,” he said.