70 Enterprises Get Active Status in Special Economic Zones

Posted by: IIPS Category: Daily Insights Tags: Comments: 0

According to a State Bank’s report, the Special Economic Zone Management Information System (SEMIS) has provided a grant of the active zone status to 70 enterprises by the Board of Approvals (BOA). The provision of approvals accelerated with the establishment of the SEZMIS. In the last eight years, only 200 enterprises were provided with the active zone status by the BOA compared to FY 2021, with 70 statuses provided in the first 5 months. The report shows that with the establishment of the SEZ, the FDI commitments to Pakistan have increased to $646.6 million, compared to $1,081.7 million for the last eight years.

SEMIS plays a central role in registering zones for BOA’s approval and respective plot allocation in the SEZ. In its latest regulation, potential zone enterprises have to submit an online application to purchase land from the developer and apply for the zone enterprise status. The registration and filing system have accelerated to create a business environment conducive for local economic growth.

Globally, SEZs are established for two main reasons, to create islands of excellence and laboratories for policy reforms. In Pakistan, both these areas remain untested with considerable room for improvement. The current SEZ framework and the ensuing government have envisioned SEZs as designated areas that offer a business-friendly environment. The establishment of SEZMIS is considered progress in that direction as it will prevent real estate speculation. However, this vision is yet to be implemented fully.

Pakistan needs to set up a one-stop-shop for the SEZ enterprises and streamline its overlapping coordination functions leading to delays in the establishment of infrastructure and utilities.

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IMARAT Institute of Policy Studies

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