The China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) shows significant progress on various infrastructural, energy, and industrial projects. One of the most notable developments is the establishment of Special Economic Zones (SEZs) under CPEC. A SEZ is an area where investors and developers enjoy tax exemption and duty-free benefits that are set up by the government to attract foreign investment. To promote economic activities, a set of policies are operated in a geographic area that are not applicable to the rest of the country generally.
So far, 9 SEZs have been planned under CPEC; the Allama Iqbal Industrial City at Faisalabad, Rashakai at Khyber PakhtunKhwa (KPK), Special Economic Zone at AJK, Moqpondass at Gilgit-Baltistan, Mohmand Marble Agency in FATA, Industrial Park on the land of Pakistan Steel Mills at Port Qasim, Bostan Industrial Zone in Baluchistan, ICT at Islamabad and Dhabeji at Sindh.
Prime Minister Imran Khan performed the groundbreaking of Allama Iqbal Industrial City (AIIC) on 3rd January, 2020. AIIC is one of the prioritized SEZs established in Punjab and strategically located on Motorway M-4 near Sahianwala Interchange, Faisalabad. AIIC will be developed on approximately 4000 acres of land. The 1st Phase of AIIC will be completed within 2 years. Around 150 Chinese Companies have shown a keen interest to invest in AIIC under CPEC. With an investment of PKR 400 Billion, this project will generate lucrative job opportunities and will have textile, steel, pharmaceuticals, engineering, chemicals, food processing, plastics, and agriculture implements industries. AIIC will boost Pakistan’s economy by attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) that will contribute a framework for Pakistani Industries. More than 250,000 job opportunities are likely to be created under the first SEZ in Punjab which would help bring prosperity in the country.