, , ,

Huawei to put South Asian Regions Headquarters in Pakistan

Vice President of Huawei Group, Mark Xueman has announced that Huawei will invest $100 million in Pakistan this year, in his recent meeting with Pakistan ́s Federal Minister for Planning & Development Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar.

The Investment will be utilised to upgrade the technical support centre of the company in Pakistani along with the establishment of Regional Headquarters in Islamabad.

¨Pakistan is a strategic market for China and Huawei, therefore the company will set up Headquarters for South Asian region in Islamabad¨

The project will cost around $55 million and will create employment opportunities for young engineers across the country.

Besides the Minister for Planning & Development, Planning Secretary Zafar Hasan and China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Project Director Hassan Daud were also present to discuss the projects Huawei’s VP plans to invest.

China-Pakistan Economic Corridor is the Pakistan arm of the Belt & Road Initiative with a collection of US$62 billion worth of infrastructure projects under construction across the country.

While discussing the details about its upcoming projects in Pakistan, Huawei’s VP said;

“Huawei will also invest $15 million in its technical support centre in Pakistan and it will also hire more workforce for it, taking the number of its staff from 600 to 800 this year. Huawei is eager to initiate more projects in Pakistan on grant funding from the Chinese Government.”

Meanwhile, Planning Minister Khusro Bakhtyar appreciated Huawei’s continued efforts to equip Pakistan with modern technology & infrastructure. He said that the world’s leading telecom giant can boost Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector of the country.

Minister mentioned that Huawei not only has a 25% share in the mobile phone industry of Pakistan but is also the top tax-paying Chinese company in the Country.

Government of Pakistan is looking forward to Huawei to contribute to its e-governance initiative as well in centralising data to improve efficiency and productivity.

Source: Belt and Road News

Dated on: July 19, 2019

Proposal to set up CPEC authority opposed


The Parliamentary Committee on China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) on Thursday opposed the government’s proposal to set up a CPEC authority, terming it an unnecessary move that will create more confusion in the execution of the multibillion-dollar project.

The joint parliamentary committee also criticised government’s decision to set up the authority through a presidential ordinance – which will further erode the moral authority of the government after the Gas Infrastructure Development Cess (GIDC) Ordinance fiasco.

The 22-member joint committee of both the houses of the parliament held its meeting in-camera.

This week, the federal cabinet approved a summary to promulgate yet another presidential ordinance to set up the CPEC authority to oversee the implementation of CPEC projects, the Ministry of Planning and Development informed the parliamentary committee.

Creating yet another bureaucratic body is also against the notion of small and efficient government and it will add more financial burden on the government.

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) Member National Assembly Sher Ali Arbab chaired the meeting that had been convened to take briefing on the terms of reference (ToR) of the CPEC Authority, ToRs of the head of the authority and the proposed mode of legislation.  Majority of the members of the joint parliamentary committee expressed serious concerns over the decision to set up the authority, a committee member told The Express Tribune on condition of anonymity. The members rejected the CPEC authority proposal by showing off their hands.

The military establishment floated the CPEC Authority idea in 2016, which the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif had shot down.

But last month, in its maiden meeting, the National Development Council – a joint forum of civilian and military leadership, approved the constitution of the CPEC Authority for ensuring fast track implementation of CPEC projects. Former planning and development minister Ahsan Iqbal initiated the discussion about implications of setting up the CPEC Authority.

The planning ministry informed the parliamentary committee that the CPEC authority would be responsible for the identification and execution of the projects, said the members after the meeting.

A grade-22 officer would be the chairman of the authority who will be assisted by executive director coordination and executive director research wing, the committee was informed. Under these executive directors, there would be six members to deal with the issues of energy, transport, investment, social and economic development, finance and media.

The committee members questioned the rationale and objective of the authority that according to them would duplicate the work being undertaken by the Ministry of Energy, Board of Investment and National Highway Authority.

The committee was informed that the CPEC Authority would also be responsible for holding meetings of joint working groups, expert groups and Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) of CPEC.

Another member of the committee argued that the CPEC Authority would disrupt the normal functioning of government departments that, according to the rules of business, are responsible to execute these projects.

Work on CPEC projects has significantly slowed down after the PTI government came into power. Last month, Railways Minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad accused the PTI government of abandoning the Mainline-I project of the CPEC worth $9 billion under IMF pressure.

The committee was informed that the authority would be set up by promulgation of the presidential ordinance. The committee recommended that the government should introduce a bill in the parliament if it wanted to create the authority. During the past year, PTI government has promulgated 15 presidential ordinances, as it lacks a majority in the Senate and cannot get bills passed. But the ordinance can be issued only for four months and can be further extended for four more months.

The planning ministry additional secretary claimed in the meeting that the CPEC Authority would work to promote business-to-business connections between Chinese and Pakistani businessmen.

Due to the government’s decision to set up an authority, about 50 people would lose their jobs who are currently working under the CPEC Secretariat project and CPEC Centre of Excellence. Their fates hang in the balance after the government decided to set up a CPEC authority.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2019.

, ,

Investors to get hefty incentives for industries in Special Economic Zones

ISLAMABAD: Pakistani and Chinese investors, preparing to set up industry in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) will get significant incentives including exemption from duties and taxes, concessional loans, land on instalments and the facility of one window operation to help them in dealing with federal and provincial departments.

According to an official document of China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) Secretariat, the Pakistani government has provided a policy package to attract potential investors including Chinese enterprises.

The incentive package includes one-time exemption from all customs duties and taxes on plant and machinery imported into Pakistan for installation in Special Economic Zones.

The investors will get an exemption from all taxes on income accruable in relation to the development and operation of the SEZs for a period of five years and an exemption from all taxes on income for enterprises commencing commercial production by June 30, 2020, in the SEZs for the next ten years.

Pakistan and Chinese governments in their 7th Joint Cooperation Committee (JCC) meeting held in November last year decided to establish nine special economic zones in different regions.

The list of priority Special Economic Zones (SEZs) include: SEZ in Rashakai, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, SEZ Dhabeji Sindh, Bostan Industrial Zone in Balochistan, Allama Iqbal Industrial City (M3), Faisalabad in Punjab, SEZ Maqpoondas in Gilgit Baltistan, ICT Model SEZ in Islamabad, Port Qasim SEZ on Pakistan Steel land in Sindh, Mohmand Marble City in FATA and SEZ in Mirpur in Azad Jammu and Kashmir.

Pakistan will provide gas, electricity, water and other supporting facilities and working shelters in the industrial parks, set up under China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) project.

The package includes the provision of plots on instalments (50 per cent down payment and remaining 50 per cent in four biannual instalments).

The investors will also get the markup support at the rate of 50 per cent of the markup to a maximum of 5 per cent on the loans taken in Pakistani currency for financing the project. The support is to be provided by the respective governments for the zones in their jurisdiction. Freight subsidy of 50 per cent will be provided on the inland transportation of plant and machinery for installation in any of the priority SEZ.

Special Economic Zones Authority (SEZA) will put in place a one window operation and the respective provincial governments will delegate authority for implementing labour, environment and other laws and for the collection of local and provincial taxes or will depute representatives of the departments in SEZA office. The federal government departments including utility companies, Federal Board of Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission will depute representatives to perform similar functions in the zone.

The developer shall also be allowed to purchase gas, electricity, and other utilities from utility providers in bulk and supply the same to the enterprises at rates that are duly notified by SEZA in consultation with the stakeholders.

The developer would also be allowed to rent out sheds for industrial use. To encourage upscaling of the industry so that it can become part of global supply chain, certain guidelines have been prepared by the government, to give a thrust to the industrialization process.