EPZA Chairman Encourages Private Sector to Establish Export Processing Zones

Karachi: Saifuddin Junejo, Chairman of the Export Processing Zone Authority (EPZA), has called on the business community to explore the opportunities presented by the newly introduced concepts of Private and Public Participated Export Processing Zones (EPZs). These initiatives allow investors with the requisite capital and land to develop, maintain, and operate their own EPZs, while those developed under public participation can be operated by EPZA.

According to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry, during a presentation held at their headquarters, Chairman Junejo highlighted that several local and international investors have already expressed interest in establishing EPZs under these new frameworks, which will be processed by EPZA and the federal government within a predefined timeline. This approach aligns with the Prime Minister's vision of establishing EPZs across all major cities, offering attractive incentives such as tax exemptions and immunity from certain regulatory constraints.

The discussion also covered the current limitations faced by existing EPZs in Pakistan, particularly the Karachi Export Processing Zone, which is significantly smaller in area compared to its regional counterparts like the Jabal-e-Ali free zone in the UAE. Junejo expressed optimism that the new EPZ models would facilitate significant expansion and potentially boost Pakistan’s export contributions which currently lag behind those of comparable zones in Bangladesh.

Director of Investment Promotion at EPZA, Ghulam Mustafa Wahocho, provided further details on the criteria and procedural timelines for establishing these zones, emphasizing the urgent need for private and public collaboration due to government constraints on land and funding. The new Private and Public Participated EPZs Rules 2023 have been made available on the EPZA website to guide potential developers.

The meeting concluded with commitments from KCCI leadership to support EPZA’s efforts and disseminate information about these opportunities to its members, aiming to attract more investors and enhance the performance of EPZs, especially the Karachi zone, to meet international standards.