‘Establishment of EPZ in private participation mode under consideration’

KARACHI (APP): The Senate Standing Committee on Industries and Production Thursday was informed that Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA) was working on establishment of EPZs in Private/Public Participation Mode and process for amendments in the relevant ordinance was underway.

The meeting of the committee held here at EPZA was presided over by the committee Chairperson Khalida Ateeb while Senator Fida Muhammad, Senator Zeeshan Khanzada and Senator Imam ud din Shouqeen attended the meeting. Chairman EPZA Dr. Saifuddin Junejo in his briefing to committee informed that final draft of Private/ Public Participated EPZs Rules 2023 has already been submitted to the ministry of Industries and Production while consultation with stakeholders was also made.

He said that the zones would be developed and operated by private sector and they would have private boards with representation to EPZA. Highlighting the importance of export sector in overall economic performance of a country, he said that EPZA was playing a proactive role in increasing the exports and several incentives and facilities were being provided to industries and investors in the EP zones.

The EPZA offered industrial and trading units exemption from custom and other duties on import of raw materials, equipment and machinery while laws and regulations pertaining to import export, foreign exchange, labour and banking were not applicable in the EP zones, he informed adding that past restrictions on import had not affected trading units established in EPZ’s. Senator Imam ud Din Shouqeen raised issue of protection of workers’ right and provision of facilities in absence of relevant laws and institutions like EOBI and SESSI. On which, the chairman EPZA said that the authority had taken measures in that regard and facilities of hospital and health insurance were being provided to labour in Karachi.

The stand ing committee was informed that 7 EPZ’s were working in Karachi, Sialkot, Gujranwala, Risalpur, Saindak, Duddar and Reko Diq. The zones were developed under different modes like public sector development plan, joint venture with provincial departments and single entity zone of a company. Karachi EPZ phase-I and Phase-II were developed on 211 and 94 acres respectively and both were fully colonized with no plot available, Jenejo said adding that 68.32 acre Phase-III of the KEPZ was in planning and designing phase and will be completed by December 2025. The committee was further informed that total exports by KEPZ in FY2022-23 remained $ 665.593 million while the total export volume of all the EPZs in the year was recorded $ 891.329 million.

EPZA charge presumptive tax from the exporting units at the rate of 1% of FOB value of of the exported commodities and over Rs.2.4 billion presumptive tax was collected in FY 2022-23. On suggestion of Senator Zeeshan Khanzada about use of alternate sources of energy particularly solar power generation in the EPZs, the chairman EPZA informed that the option was looked into earlier by the authority but solar power generation required a vast area of land that was not available with the authority.