ISLAMABAD: With thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in revenue expected to be generated over the next few years, Gwadar is on the fast road to development.
Gwadar Port contributes to the socio-economic development of Pakistan by providing a series of convenient measures for investors. Exports have started in the Gwadar Free Zone for the first time in a significant development, with the Free Zone exempted from all types of taxes and customs duties for a 20-year term.
According to Dr. Liaqat Ali Shah, Executive Director and Head of Policy Division at the CPEC Authority, the first phase of the Gwadar Free Zone and Port, covering 60 acres of land, has already been finished. It is operational, and has already attracted 46 companies.
The foundation of Gwadar Free Zone phase-II, which covers 2200 acres and is 35 times larger than the first phase, has already been done. In the next three years, it is anticipated that the Gwadar Port and Gwadar Free Zone’s economic activity will generate $10 billion yearly and add 12,000 employment opportunities.
Bostan Special Economic Zone and Hub Special Economic Zone are the two special economic zones currently being developed in Balochistan. The government has established a number of incentive programs in the economic zones, such as preferential access to natural gas, electricity, and other utilities; a welcoming visa policy for businesses entering the zones; and one-time reduction and exemption of import tariff for machinery and equipment, according to the CPEC official.
Since the Gwadar development project’s inception, there have been significant improvements, as the city now has its own universities, vocational training centres, and model elementary and secondary schools.
The most modern and the largest 246 million-dollar New Gwadar International Airport will be operational by September 2023 to welcome local and international flights to the port city. The airport’s different units are at different stages of development and the overall construction of the airport would be finished before September 2023.
Dr. Liaqat said one of the most significant factors of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is the progress of underdeveloped areas in both the countries, namely the Balochistan province of Pakistan and Xinjiang of China.
“It is considered the policy or strategy to solve the biggest unemployment problem by giving birth to massive employment opportunities. Furthermore, by strengthening and developing the underdeveloped areas of the countries, both China and Pakistan will internally become more stable.”
Dr. Liaqat said internal stability of a state played a vital role in establishing political and economic relations among countries.
Gwadar houses one of the most important locations in the region and Pakistan needs to exploit its geographical location to its full capacity.